Jersey Boys Review at Royal & Derngate, Northampton

Oh, what a night, we were in for with the smash-hit jukebox musical, Jersey Boys!

Jersey Boys programme held in front of the cage stage in the Royal and Derngate Northampton text says Jersey Boys and Derngate Northampton

Jersey Boys, the Broadway and west end smash hit musical has opened at the Royal & Derngate in Northampton from 21 Mar until 1 Apr as part of the UK tour which will also come to the Curve theatre in Leicester from 25 Apr to 6 May and if you get the chance – make sure you swing by!

I have never had such a pre-show buzz as I have had for Jersey Boys. Never. “The show is fabulous!”, “Jersey Boys is brilliant, loved every minute of it”, “I have seen it twice!” “Our favourite show, you’ll have the best time!” were just a handful of the many comments vouching for what a great night I was in for. And after having the pleasure of watching Jersey Boys, it’s plain to see how it has won over 65 major awards, been enjoyed by over 30 million people worldwide and why it’s such a personal favourite among many of our community.

This feel-good musical takes a step back to the swinging sixties to follow the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons (or whatever it is that they’re called this week!). I found the storyline both interesting and quick paced, although I love swing music and Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons’ classics, I can’t say I knew much about their history or the turbulant and less than harmonious rise to stardom that they had.

Left to right Blair Gibson Dalton Wood Ryan Heenan Christopher short in Jersey boys wearing red suits with blue trousers one playing the keyboard two play guitar
LtoR Blair Gibson, Dalton Wood, Ryan Heenan, Christopher Short in Jersey Boys credit Birgit + Ralf Brinkhoff

Tommy DeVito (Dalton Woods) plays a superb role as a local bad boy who lets the audience know that you’ve got three ways out of Jersey – you could join the army, you could get mobbed up, or you could become a star and we soon learn that Tommy picks the latter two. Woods embraced the cheeky self-appointed leader role impeccably and I really enjoyed his one-liners and bad boy image. The what you see is what you get, sans filter Tommy is just incredible to watch on stage.

My other personal favourite was Bob Gaudio (Blair Gibson), the polar opposite of Tommy, I felt Gibson really embodied the innocence and squeaky-clean image who gets dragged into the trials and tribulations of the bad influence bandmates. I appreciate the path Blair takes you on with Gaudio and I found him a loveable character on stage.

For our performance, Ryan Heenan took the reigns as main man Frankie Valli. He provided a staggering falsetto and showed excellent range with sheer versatility and power. His range really excelled with ‘Big Girls Don’t Cry’, ‘Sherry’ and ‘My Eyes Adored You’, and I loved the performance of a personal favourite ‘Working My Way Back To You”, even though it was a snippet performance.

Left or right Christopher short Ryan Heenan Blair Gibson Dalton wood in Jersey boys wearing relaxed colourful shirts and blue trousers singing into an old mic
LtoR Christopher Short, Ryan Heenan, Blair Gibson, Dalton Wood, in Jersey Boys credit Birgit + Ralf Brinkhoff

All four leading men proved fantastically skilled as they took their roles on a journey from adolescence to later life.

I also want to give a special mention to Damien Winchester who took the role of Barry and others. I adored him on stage. He was comical, his mannerisms were awesome and he just radiated absolute joy. Damien, you’re a ray of sunshine!

Set changes are at the speed of light and the whole show seems to fly by. There’s rapid transitions between offices, recording studios, TV studios, bars and jail cells all which swap and change at a rapid pace. The spinning of desks, the rapid arrival and departure of stand-alone mics, signs appearing and disappearing and props sliding left, right and centre shows this stage show is well rehearsed down to the split seconds. 

The songs are perfectly woven into the storyline to reflect the dialogue and to keep the story moving along through time. The first 15 minutes or so I felt it was almost slow as the foundations were being laid to set the story, but once it gets going, wow does it get going! Your feet will be tapping and you’ll be itching to sing along and dance!

Lauren sitting in front of the advert for Jersey boys holding jersey boys programme advertisement says the boys are back the Jersey Boys the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons Tuesday 21st of March to Saturday first of April 2023 at Royal & Derngate Northampton Telephone 0160 4624 811

As so many of you had said, this musical is outstanding. It’s funny, it’s entertaining, it’s got a knockout setlist and it brought me a whole new respect for Frankie Valli and Bob Gaudio, in particular. Sorry, but that handshake deal is just too sweet for words! If you’re yet to see Jersey Boys, do make a point of swingin’ by.

Jersey Boys will continue their tour to Southend (4 Apr – 8 Apr), Cardiff (11 Apr – 23 Apr), before returning back to the Midlands to Curve Theatre, Leicester on the 25 Apr – 6 May.

Derngate, Northampton 21 MAR – 1 APR
Running time: 2h 40 including a 20 minute interval

Directed by Des McAnuff
Music by Bob Gaudio
Choreographed by Sergio Trujillo
Lyrics by Bob Crewe
Scenic design Klara Zieglerova
Costume Jess Goldstein
Lighting Howell Binkley
Sound Steve Canyon Kennedy

Press night tickets for review


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