The Grand Theatre have an extended run of this Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons showcase over the summer, and it was a privilege to be reviewing on opening night. Overall it delivered an authentic but very entertaining tribute which went down well with the large audience.
The premise of the night from the outset was that you were watching an actual Four Seasons concert, with introductions as though the original group were performing. This was based on the classic line up of Valli, Bob Gaudio, Nick Massi and Tommy DeVito. Clearly at times there was a lot of poetic licence required with this, as this version of the group was only active in the early 1960s, whilst the material went right through to the late 70s and Valli’s solo career. I did think at one point in particular the suspension of disbelief was pushed to breaking point, but I won’t go into detail on here to spoil the surprise and the only hint I will give is it involves headwear.
There was some entertaining if given the era represented somewhat sexist crowd interaction, particularly in the first half of the show. This was generally well received, though I did feel a little sorry for those sat further behind me in the dress circle who would have been largely unaware what was happening as the artists wandered among those in the stalls.
Ultimately though a production like this lives and dies on the quality of the singing, dancing and musicianship, and in general this was excellent. The four protagonists all had good voices, and the lead (Adam I think, there are no names in the programme) hit all the distinctive high notes. Dance moves were varied and generally very slick. The backing group did such a good job that you didn’t really notice they were there, if that makes sense.
I was reminded as familiar songs came thick and fast of the recent Glastonbury jokes about Barry Gibb not bothering to prepare his own material and covering Steps and the like. I am fairly au fait with the work of Franki Valli and the Four Seasons, but there were still tracks which I didn’t think were theirs as the subsequent covers are much better known these days. There were very few numbers that weren’t familiar to most of the audience in some form or another.
If you live locally and are a big van of Franki Valli (avec ou sans the Four Seasons) you will doubtless already be planning to catch this show already. If you are less of a diehard devotee and weighing it up I very much recommend you catch up with it during this run, it’s a slick feel good night perfect for a summer evening in the Grand Theatre.
Walk Like A Man runs until Sunday 27 August. There are showings most days, including matinees on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Tickets start at £12.50 for under 18s, £18.50 full price. To book or check available dates visit blackpoolgrand.co.uk or visit the Grand Box Office.
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