What to say about Jersey Boys, the Frankie Valli musical with a heart of Four Seasons music and a wont to tell the story of the group from beginning to end in almost excessive detail? This is the problem, for while you wouldn't call it 'bad', it's certainly not anything exceptional and it doesn't necessitate excesses of emotion either way, apart from when listening to the stunning vocals of all four leading men.
As Frankie Valli, Jye Frasca is just the right age and had just the right vocal sound and strength to support his interpretation of Valli's life. While he was not helped by some rather uneven sound levels, Frasca's voice was certainly pure and powerful enough to command attention. At an astounding thirty, he somehow looked young enough to be realistic as a teenager (yes, I'm looking at you, Ryan Molloy) yet was able to pull off an older look too.
Jon Boydon as Tommy DeVito showcased staggeringly good vocals along with an interestingly likeable interpretation of aggressive, addicted DeVito. While DeVito's gambling habit eventually put the group in jeopardy, seeing him move to Las Vegas in order to pay off his debts, the twinkle in Boydon's eye convinced you he was not a bad man after all, while his sharp, high-quality dancing also endeared.
Eugene McCoy as Nick Massi and Stephen Ashfield as Bob Gaudio also impressed with their solid vocals and acting - comedic for the former, serious for the latter. Ashfield has been in the show for two years but shows no signs of wear and tear. His portrayal was sweet and sincere and his character's relative innocence did not seem feigned. Simon Adkins, too, was an unexpected stand-out as manager Bob Crewe, bringing a slick feyness to the man who co-wrote hits like Sherry and Big Girls Don't Cry.
While Jersey Boys is nothing inspirational, it is certainly an educational evening out. Designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator to some extent, it is an unsurprisingly easy paint-by-numbers watch, but a fun one at that. The talent on show and the wonderful music showcased should be enough to get you buying a ticket, but don't expect Sondheim.