To celebrate A-use-to-be-down-the-hill's birthday a couple of weeks ago, I decided to spring for a girlie night at the theatre. Jersey Boys has had such great reviews during its London run and you never know when these things are going to finish or get all expensive so I grabbed a couple of tickets and off we went.
Fuelled by a couple of glasses of wine over dinner beforehand, we climbed the stairs to the Grand Circle of the Prince Edward Theatre, squashed any vertiginous tendancies and squeezed into our seats to be greeted by a bird's eye view of the entire stage. Then the music started and we were away.
I'd heard of the Four Seasons and Frankie Valli - although I did get him a little confused with Ritchie Valens before the show began (it's sometimes good to feel too young to know these things for sure) - but with the first note, I realised that I knew every song. Some of the time I remembered the later cover versions - I particularly remember bopping along to The Spinners' version of Workin' My Way Back To You Babe in 1979 - but classics like Big Girls Don't Cry and Walk Like A Man featuring Valli's trademark falsetto are still as great now as they ever were.
The show charts the story of The Four Seasons, the struggle to hit the big time, the genius of Bob Gaudio's writing and Valli's extraordinary range, the personal tragedies and the ups and downs of life on the road. As Valli (Ryan Molloy on London's stage) points out, as the bad times always pass, so do the good ones.
This is a fantastic, feel good musical. The cast is great, the show moves swiftly and the music of the era runs its nostalgic fingers through slicked back hair and many great memories. And quite frankly I defy anyone not to let a little tune burst forth on the walk back to the tube.
Oh wait...I think that was just us...