REVIEW: New Jersey Nights
Blackpool Grand Theatre

The cast of New Jersey Nights, running at the Grand Theatre, Blackpool until August 16
The cast of New Jersey Nights, running at the Grand Theatre, Blackpool until August 16
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Any worries that Blackpool may be getting an imitation product are blown away by this exuberant entertainment.

Not to be confused with the Broadway and West End hit musical The Jersey Boys, 
New Jersey Nights is more of a tribute to the music of 
Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons.

It actually makes a virtue of the fact that it is NOT The Jersey Boys, recently seen on the silver screen and which will be heading to Manchester in September.

Instead, stripped of any back story to tell about harmony quartet The Four Seasons, who took the charts by storm in the early 60s, and its lead singer Frankie Valli, it can concentrate on the group’s music, which it serves up with enthusiastic aplomb.

Not so much a jukebox musical then, but a shiny, hit-laden jukebox that fits neatly into four weeks of the Grand’s pick ‘n’ mix summer season.

The first act focuses squarely on the Four Seasons’ own output, with a brief Phil Spector Wall of Sound ‘interval’ to allow for costume and scene changes.

The second act borrows a little more from other music of the 60s but this is a show that knows its target audience.

Acapella versions of Silence is Golden or Blue Moon hit the bullseye.

By rotating the role of Valli’s child-like falsetto vocals among its four singers it also skilfully eases the strain on their collective vocal cords!

On opening night the quartet comprised Duncan Heather, Kris Manuel, William Hazell and Simon Schofield, four slickly-quiffed and sharp-suited exponents of musical theatre.

Each of them is able to work an audience with well-drilled banter that eventually has theatregoers eating out of their collective hands, even if their ‘corpsing’ routine is a little over-played.

Backed by six equally-assured dancers and a four-piece on-stage band their standing ovation is richly-deserved.

New Jersey Nights, Grand Theatre, Blackpool, until 
August 16. Call 01253 743343 to book.

David Upton