The Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons tribute show New Jersey Nights opened at the New Theatre tonight [Tuesday 23 January] and received a rapturous standing ovation.
In fact, it was more than a standing ovation – it was a dancing ovation (or at least a shuffling about and clapping ovation – there’s not much room for dancing) as the talented and energetic cast signed off with a medley of the hits which had filled the previous two hours.
The show is a foot-tapping, hand-clapping celebration of the influential group’s music, with a few hits by other artists of the era thrown in to the mix.
The charismatic quartet of singers, Joshua Dever, William Hazel, Duncan Heather and Ricky Rojas, take turns to be the front man, adding occasional narration between songs to give some context and background.
It’s a pretty faultless performance (even a supposed error at the start of Blue Moon – a version of the doo-wop interpretation by The Marcels – was surely part of the act), driven along by a three-piece on-stage band, led by keyboardist Sam Coates, and backed by a talented troupe of six dancers.
The sets in Act 1 – a New Jersey nightclub and a mid-’60s recording studio – are highly evocative of the time, and the costumes throughout are similarly striking.
The show has understandably been a hit across the USA and UK, and this is a welcome return to Cardiff after five years, featuring songs such as Oh What a Night, Beggin’, Rag Doll, Stay, Grease, Big Girls Don’t Cry, and Who Loves You?
If you’re a fan of this music (lets’ face it – who isn’t?), into retro clothing and design, or just enjoy a fun night out, you will love this show.
New Jersey Nights continues at Cardiff’s New Theatre until Saturday (27 January). For full details and to book tickets, visit newtheatrecardiff.co.uk or call the box office on (029) 2087 8889.
Review by Andrew Weltch