A few weeks ago I found myself with a gap in my diary for one lonely night in London. With conferences either side, I decided I needed to make the most of my free time but having travelled solo from our offices in York, I needed something that I could do minus company. Fortunately, I happen to know one of the most well-connected characters in the West End, Superbreak’s Head of Theatre, David Thomas. After I told him of my conundrum he managed to find me a last minute, single ticket to one of Theatreland’s most popular shows, Jersey Boys.
My Wednesday afternoon meeting finished at 6pm, so I had to make a mad dash across the city to arrive at the show on time. To make matters worse, it was raining and I was definitely not dressed for the weather. By the time I’d found the Prince Edward Theatre, collected my tickets and found my seat, I was cold, wet and resembled something caught in a drain. Wedged between an elderly couple and a group of forty-something women, I spied an impressive array of blue rinses from my single seat and started to think I’d make a horrible mistake.
I didn’t know much about the Jersey Boys, other than it was popular with our Superbreak customers and that it was about an American group I’d only vaguely heard of. The familiar opening tune of ‘Oh What A Night’ started to ease my doubts, and as the story began to unravel and I regained sensation in my feet, I warmed up to the possibility of discovering a new favourite show.
The story that unfolded told the tale of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons from their conception on the streets of Jersey in the 1960s, to the heights of their success, and their eventual separation. The show is divided into four parts: Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter, with each of the band’s members narrating in turn. I loved the Roy Lichtenstein-style, pop art visuals that illustrated each of the stages of the story. It really added an authentic look and feel to the show.
I also really liked the way the show used live camera recordings of the cast, projected onto screens in grainy black and white to replicate the way the original band members would have appeared to their fans. My favourite scene, however, was when the cast recreated the band’s final performance together. Standing with their backs to the audience, the four figures appeared as gently swaying silhouettes against the unbearable glare of the stage lights, creating the illusion that we in the audience were backstage at the show, sharing the experience of being on stage.
By the time the show finished I’d totally forgotten that I was sat by myself in the audience and about my earlier sodden mishap. The energy in the audience was electric and so infectious that I even purchased the soundtrack CD (which has been blasting out of my car stereo ever since). It really was a great night out and I’d highly recommend seeing the show during your next theatre break.