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Jersey Boys

Show review: Jersey Boys shimmy their way into our hearts

Marina Bay Sands’ latest musical offering Jersey Boys strikes gold!

We couldn’t take our eyes off the Jersey Boys the whole time during last night’s gala premiere of the brand-new musical to hit town. Well, in good way of course, without involving any wardrobe malfunction of any sort.

Jersey Boys

I headed into the theatres with just enough knowledge of the award-winning musical – it’s about four boys from Jersey chasing their dream and they’ll be belting awesome catchy sixties tunes. Boy, if, like me, and that’s all you knew about the show, you will be in for a nice surprise.

The musical kicked off with a snazzy rapped up French cover version of “Oh, What a Night” and threw us for a loop. But the stage was soon set right by the appearance of Tommy DeVito (played by Daniel Buys) , one of the foursome, decked out in sixties’ garb, who assured that we will go back to start from the beginning and hear the story from all four Jersey Boys – Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, Tommy DeVito and Nick Massi, who collectively form The Four Seasons.

From the get go, tune after tune was belted out with pizzazz. The audience was caught in an entertaining frenzy of half-songs that teased us one after another, keeping us so enthralled, we were almost dizzy with excitement and anticipation.

Yet, there was a kind of feeling at the back of our mind, triggering a longing, even with all that action going on. Perhaps, that is exactly how the producers wanted us to feel, that something was looming, something big.

And the first strum of the guitar when the four guys came together was all it took for us to know that we’re in for the perfect musical ride with a winsome cast.

Grant Almirall (pictured left), who plays Frankie Valli, has the perfect boyish good looks plus a remarkable voice with a killer falsetto to fill Valli’s very big shoes. He brought the portrayal of the famed singer to life, giving the character growth and depth at the same time. At one point when he received some bad news on the phone, the silence and tension in the theatre was so palpable, it was almost as if everyone was willing for him to snap.

The other three guys were no wallflowers either. Even though Daniel Buys’ Devito had a cocky demeanour, his swagger, soaring vocals and nifty footwork left us wanting more. Kenneth Meyer, who plays the genius of the group Bob Gaudio, a geeky sweet kid, was a whiz on the piano, while Emmanuel Castis’ Nick Massi stole parts of the show with his comedic timing and killer one-liners.

But more than anything, it was the familiar hits like “Sherry”, Walk Like A Man”, “Big Girls Don’t Cry”, “My Eyes Adored You” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” that got the audience tapping, swaying and bobbing to the beat. For someone like me who was initiated into tunes from the fifties and sixties (thanks Dad!) from a young age, I was dying to jump out of my seat and dance along.

Or at least, I really wanted to learn how to do synchronised dance moves with three other people – complete with jazz hands, finger snapping and feet tapping in style, without looking silly.

I loved the pop-art décor and set, plus, appreciated the direction at parts – especially the bit right before the intermission, when the four of them stood with their backs to the audience and all the flood lights hit us right in the eyes – maybe it was in a bid to make us wonder what it was really like to be in the spotlight – harsh but sobering.

That set the tone for the second half, where instead of the frenzied pacing of the first, we delved deep into the characters and their stories, rounding out the full-bodied musical roller coaster of ups and downs. Now, they were all humanised with flaws instead of the singing stars we came to idolise in the first half.

Somehow, the plot – the usual feel-good rags to riches tale – that although repeated, repackaged and reformulated, still managed to sneak up and strike a chord in every one of us.

All in all, one thing’s for sure, there is a very good reason why this musical won the number of accolades it has – it’s great entertainment, fantastic music and stellar performances all rolled into one. Oh what a night.

Catch Jersey Boys at the Marina Bay Sands MasterCard Theatre from now to February 17, 2013. Tickets are priced from $55 and are available at SISTIC. For more information, visit www.jerseyboys.com.

Review by Pamela Tan. Read on the web at: http://www.herworldplus.com/lifestyle/stuff-do/show-review-jersey-boys-shimmy-their-way-our-hearts.