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Let’s hear it for the boys

PUBLISHED: 18:09 12 June 2008 | UPDATED: 17:23 16 August 2010

THE latest award-winning musical to cross the Atlantic from Broadway to the West End is Jersey Boys, writes Marina Soteriou. It tells the story of one of pop s most successful bands,

THE latest award-winning musical to cross the Atlantic from Broadway to the West End is Jersey Boys, writes Marina Soteriou.

It tells the story of one of pop's most successful bands, Frankie Valli and the Four Tops.

To most of us their songs such as Oh What A Night, Big Girls Don't Cry, and Can't Take My Eyes off You are instantly recognisable but little is known of the hit factory.

The tale of a band struggling to get their break big and then keep on the steady path is a familiar one and it takes a while to draw the audience into the story.

But the producers of the show in the Prince Edward Theatre, Soho, had a golden ticket here, as the demons that threaten to draw the Tops in, are organised crime, Italian American style.

The boys all talk in exaggerated Jersey accents as if they have been watching entire series of The Sopranos without a toilet break.

However this is forgivable when they sing like they do.

The moment Ryan Molloy who plays Frankie Valli opens his mouth to sing, you know you are in for a treat.

His piercing tones and wide range leave you wondering if he is better than the real thing.

The singing bits are where the show really works. All performers playing the Tops are brilliant and when they perform those magical hits, it leaves you in awe.

Some clever and inventive bits of staging give more than what is expected of a musical.

The drama is laid on thick with extra cheese.

Glenn Carter who plays Tommy DeVito, the member most drawn into the dark side of the Jersey life has the unfortunate role of playing the most melodramatic character.

However the relationship between Valli and the brains behind the music, Bob Gaudio (Stephen Ashfield) charms the audience.

The real revelation is the growth of Valli to shy and naïve member of the group to the assured star.

He becomes more and more dependable on the songwriter Gaudio than his one time enabler DeVito, who gradually becomes a hindrance to the group.

An embodiment of the group comes from Gaudio who says: "We weren't a social movement like the Beatles. Our fans were the guys who were flipping burgers and pumping gas, and the girls behind the counter at the diner, real blue-collar workers."

But you realise just how important the Four Tops were when you read the list of other hits the producers had to leave out.

* Booking available until April 25, 2009.Box office on 0844 482 5138.

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