FEATURES
JERSEY BOYS STILL ROCKING AT THE PICCADILLY THEATRE IN LONDON'S THEATRELAND

ESSEX SINGER MICHAEL WATSON IS FRANKIE VALLI

IT does not take much to drag a child of the 60's back to the days when long hair and dancing until the wee small hours were a way of life.
And though the spirit is still willing, the body gave up long ago so watching THE JERSEY BOYS is still at the Piccadilly Theatre, with the blue rinse packed auditorium full of those spirits, but dancing in the aisles needed a paramedic on stand by.
With more than 50 awards the show has all the signs of becoming a long running winner, and deserves to be.
The days of jive and whirling your partner over your head are now a memory for most, but the music of the 'Four Seasons' was outstanding.
The hit show is based on the phenomenal success of the group who took over the charts back in the 1950/60s and Frankie Valli's unique and exceptional range from baritone to falsetto being the reason.
With songs that were perfectly aimed at the teenage revolution, the band achieved multi million record sales in just a few years.
I remember it was Frankie's voice that had us all jumping for the ceiling and doing gymnastics to impress the girls, but they were only listening to the singer. I know I married such a fan.
As memories fade a show featuring the success of four disadvantaged young musicians 64 years on, could be thought of as courageous.
It was courageous, and did they deliver.
There were a lot of smiling faces when the four boys: Edd Post as Bob Gaudio, Jon Boydon as Tommy De Vito, Matt Nalton as Nick Massi and the outstanding Michael Watson as Frankie Valli, lit up the stage.
Michael's voice is a perfect match for Valli and how we remembered him all those years ago.
Superlatives can only scratch the surface of the era, the only way to find out what it was like is buy a ticket.
You still can't beat the music of the 60s and this show is a100 per cent musical adrenalin rush; the bonus comes when the true, but little known story, is told of four lads who wanted to sing.
Coming from dark side of Newark, New Jersey, the youngsters had only three choices to get out, and fortunately for the world of music, they chose to sing.
Featuring a cast of 21 high energy actors, you did not need telling you were in London's theatre land, and with unforgettable songs such as 'Sherry', Big Girls Don't Cry', 'Dawn,' My Eyes Adore You', to name but a few, each one was delivered as we remembered them.
The performances were all excellent, but it was Essex born Michael Watson's voice that brought our former lifestyles flooding back.
His vocal range is phenomenal and matches Valli's to a level where there is no distinction, and reminding the audience of their youth, despite varicose veins stopping dancing in the aisles.
Such is the high value of the show, and I envy the many young people watching the joy of discovering the music for the first time.
In the background story the boys upbringing was quite rough and at times I wondered if the writer, Marshall Brickman, was measuring up Valli for the next Canonization by the Pope. The singer comes out of the script shining and with a reputation and courage of a man who believes in what he is doing.
I also particularly liked Jon Boydon as the wheeler dealer member of the group, Tommy De Vito, who eventually landed them with a massive debt due to his borrowing and gambling. It was very mature performance with the right vibes expected from a man who was destined to be saved from financial drowning by his friends.
The whole experience is a well crafted and elegant production that ticks all the boxes and satisfies a quality adventure into theatre land.
The show reached 1500 performances in September 2015.
Tickets available from the box office on 0844 871 7630
Review August 2014
 

Michael Watson, the Southend singer treading the path to stardom with his performance in the Jersey Boys