Review Round-up: Jersey Boys, Trafalgar Theatre


Trafalgar Theatre.

Press night: 17 August. 

Everyone has heard of Jersey Boys, right? It’s the Olivier Award and Tony Award wining musical based on the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, using their own musical to plot the narrative. Having previously ran in the West End from 2008 to 2017, it’s back again – this time at the newly refurbished Trafalgar Theatre – but is it still as good?
Adam Bailey, Ben Joyce, Benjamin Yates and Karl James Wilson. Photograph: Mark Senior

Critic Reviews:

 The Guardian  

The show’s new Frankie Valli, Ben Joyce, who only graduated from drama school this summer, is on point with that distinctive nasal falsetto, heading up to helium territory, although softness creeps in on some solo numbers – his Moody’s Mood for Love is a beaut. As time wears on and the touring becomes relentless, Joyce’s characterisation moves towards desperation.

What’s particular about the band is the dissonance between the tender harmonies and the cold shell of these tough guys in suits. The book touches on the singers’ forgotten families back home but the emotional climax, which comes in the form of a phone call, doesn’t quite make the bottom fall out of your world. The momentum is all in the music, pushed hard in the band’s charge towards fame and beyond. Jersey Boys is a musical that efficiently delivers a cracking story and a seemingly endless catalogue of hit songs.

The Times (paywall) 

All those hundreds of thousands of satisfied customers can’t be wrong, can they? This jukebox musical, telling the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, has swept the globe since it first arrived on Broadway a decade and a half ago. So to point out that it’s an oddly clunky piece of storytelling interspersed with songs that are seldom given room to spread their wings might seem perverse. But it’s true.

The Telegraph  

Jersey Boys embodies the qualities of the band itself: unpretentious, uncomplicated, a bit cheesy and, with its by-numbers rags to riches narrative, steeped in the comforting mythology of the American dream. Moreover, you can’t fault the performances in this newly cast revival, with Benjamin Yates deftly capturing the pugilistic DeVito’s paradoxical reckless control freakery (his inveterate gambling habit would eventually split the group) and with all four band members so musically in tune one of them only needs to pluck a note on a guitar for another to instantly come in with a yearning harmony, a nifty hip wiggle, a soul-soaring melody. Best of all is Joyce, combining apple-cheeked freshness with uncanny musical instinct and with a falsetto so sublime even Valli himself, now 87, might have cause to feel envy.