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New Jersey Nights opened at the Grand on Sunday to a delighted audience. Direct from the USA, this international smash-hit show, produced by David King for Spirit Shows, is in town for four weeks. I loved it so much, I will be seeing it again before it moves on to the rest of its world tour. This show, which is a spectacular celebration of the music of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, delivers a back catalogue of the sensational sounds that put them at the top of the charts for forty years.

After the overture, the show opened with Oh What a Night, which was an excellent choice and really had the audience tapping their feet, rocking in their seats and eagerly awaiting more. They weren’t disappointed. The falsetto foursome ran through some of Valli’s biggest hits in a show that was fast paced, with a mix of upbeat and quieter numbers. The set was simple with just the four boys and six dancers. The four boys, Duncan Heather, Kris Manuel, William Hazel and Simon Schofield, who are each a talented singer in their own right, epitomised Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons to a tee. In spite of monitoring difficulties in the first half, they still managed to keep exceptionally tight harmonies. They all have extensive musical experience, and their professionalism showed.

Although the show was mostly comprised of song, there were references to the history of the group, which, incidentally, is still performing, even though Frankie Valli is now 80 years old and the only original member. In addition to the original hits, they also sang hits from other performers of the era. I particularly liked The Righteous Brothers’ Unchained Melody. Whilst all the boys had excellent falsetto voices, for me personally, and a few of the people I spoke to, Simon Schofield was the star of the show.  He just had the edge. A huge favourite was the a capella version of Blue Moon, initially going off key, but they blamed Simon for starting on too high a note. Obviously staged, presented as if it was genuine, but nonetheless hilarious, it had the audience in stitches. When the laughter subsided the correct version was perfection in itself. The only section of the show that I wasn’t too sure about, was the three female dancers miming to The Ronettes’ Be My Baby and The Crystals’ Da Do Ron Ron, but the audience seemed to like it.

There are over thirty songs in this ninety minute show and each of them was a perfectly performed, wonderfully nostalgic trip down memory lane. The mega mix at the end had virtually the whole audience dancing in the aisles and begging for more, which was granted, appropriately enough, with a further rendition of Bye Bye Baby. If you only go to one show this summer, this is the one to choose.

 

New Jersey Nights runs from Sunday 20 July to Saturday 16 August.  Tickets from £19.50, Concessions £2.00 off, Under 18’s are half price.

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