It’s Friday night. I’m sitting primly on a wooden bench in the longest raincoat I could come up with, which just so happens to be extremely purple, and clutching an umbrella like some kind of low budget Mary Poppins. Except this Mary Poppins is trying very very hard not to let hers take off – in British summer time with winds like this evening’s, anything could happen. Yet, despite all that, I’m really enjoying myself, and I’m not the only one who is. The four heroic men on stage are grinning, dancing and joking their way through song after song, encompassing the sodden audience at Brighton Open Air Theatre with almost enough enthusiasm to make them forget the rain. Almost.
Good old fashioned showmanship
There are other draws too, of course – the good old fashioned showmanship, sleek choreography, nostalgia factor, and yes, eye-candy, but really we’re all here for the music. Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons have the kind of repertoire that makes you say ‘Oh yeah, I remember this one!’, and wonder at the sheer quantity of hits. Fortunately, their tribute band are all excellent singers (with one particularly remarkable soprano), successfully doing justice to every classic hit and, by the end, have most of the venue on it’s feet. A lilting rendition of Can’t Take My Eyes Off You sees a small gaggle of slow-dancing couples occupy the stage, and by the final number (Bye Bye Baby, what else?) it’s basically a party.
Between the music are brief introductions and gentle humour. It’s never truly laugh-out-loud, but the charming rapport and obvious enjoyment of the performers is enough to propel it through the breaks.
All in all the evening is fun, feel-good, (knowingly) silly and surprisingly romantic. I’d sincerely recommend it to anyone who is a fan of the original group, ensuing musical (Jersey Boys ran on Broadway for twelve years), or looking for an alternative date night. Maybe it is slightly cheesy and unsophisticated, but it’s also a really good time.