REVIEW: Jersey Boys, Sunderland Empire, until December 6

Jersey Boys at the Sundeland Empire l-r Lewis Griffiths who plays Nick Massi, Stephen Webb who plays Tommy DeVito, Tim Driesen who plays Frankie Valli and Sam Ferriday who plays Bob Gaudio.

Jersey Boys at the Sundeland Empire l-r Lewis Griffiths who plays Nick Massi, Stephen Webb who plays Tommy DeVito, Tim Driesen who plays Frankie Valli and Sam Ferriday who plays Bob Gaudio.

0
Have your say

IF ever a star can hit the high note it’s North East actor Matt Corner in the lead role of this musical tribute to Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.

He manages to capture the main man’s piercingly powerful falsetto vocals perfectly in this high octane journey through the peaks and troughs of one of the most successful bands of the last century.

Though their songs are instantly recognisable from their opening bars, I knew little of the back story behind this band of wise guys from the wrong side of the Jersey tracks.

The infectious upbeat tempo of hits such as Sherry, Big Girls Don’t Cry, Beggin’, Can’t Take My Eyes Off You, Fallen Angel and Walk Like A Man belied the turmoil of the band’s private lives which ran a gauntlet of eye-wateringly high debts, prison and even the death of a daughter.

Despite the dramas, the show must always go on.

And the four leads - Matt, Sam Ferriday as Bob Gaudio, Stephen Webb as Tommy DeVito and Lewis Griffiths and his deliciously rich bass tones as Nick Massi - gel seamlessly in the musical numbers which are comparable to a top concert with pitch-perfect harmonies.

A slight technical error led to an unexpected intermission, but the foursome seemed to come back stronger, delivering the hits thick and fast in perfectly pressed suits and slicked barnets.

It would have been easy to turn this into a jukebox musical, a limp through the history of a household name. But the narrative packs a punch here, managing to weave the hits together with a strong message of friendship amidst the pitfalls of fame.

Despite whisking you through 50 years of highs and lows, you’re left feeling like you have a fuller picture of a band that have entertained across the generations.

They may be fallen angels, but I couldn’t take my eyes off this band of brothers.