Jersey Boys – Piccadilly Theatre
I originally wrote this review just a week after cast change so I felt it only appropriate that now I’ve revisited, (some weeks ago now) to update my thoughts on the new cast. So there are a few subtle changes – read on to find my thoughts.
For die-hard fans of a particular show, it is never easy when cast change happens, even more so when for the first time in the history of Jersey Boys eight year run all four “boys” (five including alternate Frankie) changed.
As a fan you have to accept this and continue to support the old cast in their new ventures and learn to embrace the incoming new blood, which is sometimes easier said than done.
However within the new four seasons we have “touring” cast and experienced ensemble moving into the key roles Jersey Boys is a tried and tested highly successful formula which has not changed. So what I would’ve expected to see is the same but different show……..So was this my experience?
Simon Bailey opens with a strong delivery of “Tommy Devito’s” opening speech. It’s calculated and has the perfect accentuation. His “Tommy DeVito” feisty and powerful and pulls no punches.
I know this show so well, that I look for key lines or moments, (my favourites if you like) to see how they are delivered, everyone gives a different “nuance” to them and it makes for an interesting insight as to how the characterisation has been achieved and what we can expect. One of these came, when Declan Egan as Bob Gaudio sat down at the piano to sing “Cry For Me” did I feel the usual melting moment I’ve had when I’ve seen others in this role? Absolutely I did, Egan’s voice is divine and suits the role of Gaudio down to the ground.
Matt Hunt as Nick Massi is someone I’ve been watching for years as he previously played Norm Waxman. So when the announcement came that he was becoming one of “the four” I was delighted and had the anticipation of a great performance to come. I was not wrong either and believe that we are lucky enough to be seeing one of the greatest performances in the role of Nick Massi we’ve ever seen! The delivery of “the towel” speech was spot on and his deep range in his voice is absolutely perfect combined with his acting which was superb.
The role of Frankie was played by alternate Dayle Hodge. A brilliant performance was delivered. When Hodge sung “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” the crowd or rather the audience, certainly did go wild. Hodge’s characterisation of Valli brings forth a different aspect, his acting without question is on point and his singing sublime. It’s no wonder that he has now been nominated for understudy of the year in West End Frames awards – VOTE HERE NOW if you haven’t already, but be quick as voting closes on 29th August!
Whilst this review has been about the principles let’s not forget the other new to role cast. Special mentions therefore go to Mark Dugdale (Bob Crewe) who is a superb Bob Crew giving every ounce of timing in his line delivery and made me love him as Crewe instantly. Mark Heenehan (Gyp) had the “mobster Godfather” persona off to a tee, and cheeky Nathaniel Morrison (Barry).
This show is and will always be a five-star show in my eyes and the new cast have continued this feeling. This is one happy supporter, and to paraphrase a line from the show “I’m like that bunny on TV I just keep goin’ and goin'” and this new cast definitely has me “Beggin” for more.