REVIEW: Jersey Boys, Sunderland Empire, Until September 19

Jersey Boys is at the Sunderland Empire.''From left, Lewis Griffiths, Matt Corner, Sam Ferriday and Henry Davis.

Jersey Boys is at the Sunderland Empire.''From left, Lewis Griffiths, Matt Corner, Sam Ferriday and Henry Davis.

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With toe-tapping numbers and wise guys you wouldn’t want to mess with, Jersey Boys is the Godfather of musicals.

It tells the incredible true story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.

Tommy DeVito (Henry Davis) and Nick Massi (Lewis Griffiths) are part of a struggling trio until they recruit the angelic singing voice of young Valli (Matt Corner) and the hit-making songwriting abilities of Bob Gaudio (Sam Ferriday).

The four New Jersey boys take the world by storm after releasing a string of hits, but between Tommy’s debts, being away from their homes and families and the fast life of stardom, things aren’t as peachy as they seem on the surface.

The story really is a fascinating one but get ready for a lot of information to be thrown at you over a relatively short period of time.

Understandably, there’s a lot to the rags to riches story and not much time to tell it, but this means the show is fast-paced and keeps you gripped the entire time.

Jersey Boys is at the Sunderland Empire.

Jersey Boys is at the Sunderland Empire.

Along with the rapid retelling of the Jersey Boys’ lives comes a very elaborate and busy set. Props are constantly wheeled on and off the stage, making for an ever-changing aesthetic that keeps things fresh and interesting.

The costumes are great too – the guys looks suave and dashing in their suits.

A lot went into the look of the show, but really, it was all about the performances.

Corner was phenomenal as Valli. Close your eyes, and you’ll think it’s the man himself stood up on the stage. The singer’s unique voice and impossibly-high notes were perfectly emulated by Corner who gave stunning renditions of famous hits like Sherry, Big Girls Don’t Cry and Walk Like A Man.

You don’t have to be a die-hard Four Seasons fan to fall in love with this show.

The actor also gave an emotional and goosebump-inducing performance of Fallen Angel.

Davis, standing in for Stephen Webb in the role of DeVito, gave an impeccably confident performance. Given his moment to shine up front, the actor really grabbed it.

Griffiths was fantastic as too-cool-to-care Massi and Ferriday was brilliant as perky songwriter Gaudio, with the supporting cast playing multiple roles to fill the spots of characters like Joe Pesci (yes, that Joe Pesci), Frankie’s love interest Mary Delgado and music producer Bob Crewe.

The show is cool and slick and the story is a truly unforgettable one. You don’t have to be a die-hard Four Seasons fan to fall in love with this show.

Jersey Boys runs at the Sunderland Empire until Saturday, September 19. Click here to book tickets.

Twitter: @vickinewmanjp