Review: Jersey Boys, Capitol Theatre

Diana Carroll

The much-loved musical hits all the right notes on its return to the Sydney stage.
Review: Jersey Boys, Capitol Theatre

The cast of Jersey Boys photo by Jeff Busby.

More than 25 million musical theatre fans the world over have enjoyed Jersey Boys since it first opened on Broadway in 2005.  Written by Marshall Brickman, an Academy Award-winner, and Rick Elice, with music by Bob Gaudio and lyrics by Bob Crewe, this is the story of 1960s pop sensation Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. 

The four young men who became the band all grew up in Jersey "home to some of the best prisons in America”. Jersey Boys opens slowly, creating a feeling for the Italian-American experience of the time – petty crime, dismal job opportunities, and a fairly bleak future. Yes, this feels like a clichéd narrative, but it sets the scene for what’s to come. The show really kicks off once the band is formed and the music takes over. This is what the audience comes for – those classic 60s pop tunes that everyone knows. And the cast do a great job of the songs, from 'Oh What a Night!' to 'Sherry', 'Big Girls Don’t Cry' and the anthemic 'Walk Like a Man'.

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Ryan Gonzalez and Daniel Raso share the role of Frankie Valli (appearing on different nights) hitting those high notes with ease. Cameron MacDonald is delightful as the dislikeable Tommy DeVito. Thomas McGuane and Glaston Toft give the drama some balance as the other members of the band. And Glenn Hill is brilliant as the uber-gay producer Bob Crewe. 

The players in the supporting cast all do a creditable job and evoke the attitude of the times with great costuming and lots of sass. Jersey Boys uses a simple set with clever back projections to change the scene and set the mood. An annoying glitch at this performance meant every scene was punctuated with an errant flashing on the house left of the set. This should have been fixed more quickly than it was. 

Jersey Boys serves up a nostalgic view of 1960s Americana that we all know and love. There are no surprises, just a Happy Days view of life and lots of great songs for the audience to sing along and enjoy.

Jersey Boys plays at Sydney’s Capitol Theatre until 15 December before opening in Brisbane in January and Melbourne in February.

3 ½ stars
★★★☆

Jersey Boys

Ryan Gonzalez & Daniel Raso - Frankie Valli

Cameron MacDonald - Tommy DeVito

Thomas McGuane - Bob Gaudio

Glaston Toft - Nick Massi

Marshall Brookman & Rick Elise – Book

Bob Gaudio – Composer

Bob Crewe – Lyrics

Des McAnuff – Director

Sergio Trujillo - Choreographer

 

1 September - 15 December 2018

Capitol Theatre, Sydney

What the stars mean?
  • Five stars: Exceptional, unforgettable, a must see
  • Four and a half stars: Excellent, definitely worth seeing
  • Four stars: Accomplished and engrossing but not the best of its kind
  • Three and a half stars: Good, clever, well made, but not brilliant
  • Three stars: Solid, enjoyable, but unremarkable or flawed
  • Two and half stars: Neither good nor bad, just adequate
  • Two stars: Not without its moments, but ultimately unsuccessful
  • One star: Awful, to be avoided
  • Zero stars: Genuinely dreadful, bad on every level

About the author

Dr Diana Carroll is a writer, speaker, and reviewer based in Sydney. Her work has been published in newspapers and magazines including the SMH, the Oz, Woman's Day, and B&T. Writing about the arts is one of her great passions.