Big Girls Don't Cry, or, A Night in London's West End with Jersey BoysSunday, February 06, 2011
We've been living in London for just over a year now, so it was about time that we experienced the world-famous West End... and we were very lucky to be given two tickets to the hit musical Jersey Boys.
We've seen We Will Rock You and Chicago as performed by South Africans in the Cape Town theatres, so we were very keen to see how the famous West End stood up to our high levels of expectations!
We didn't know much about the musical so we were both very pleasantly surprised by what we got. It started off very strangely with a french rapper singing one of Franki Valli's hits, but it soon became a thoroughly enjoyable sing-along that was brilliantly cast (the four men in the poster above) and really very well coordinated. It was engaging and spectacular - we loved it. I had no idea how prominent Franki Valli's influence is on my own musical knowledge, and, of course, on contemporary music too. In fact, I hate to admit it, 'Franki Valli' was a name that was for me synonymous only with the Grease soundtrack!
The musical worked its way brilliantly through Valli's career, his personal 'fall', and his later entrance into the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame as a talented and successful musician. We clapped along to the fun songs and nearly cried with the sad ones... overall, we were really surprised at how many of the songs were familiar, and it was really interesting to get the 'behind the scenes' look at the history (and inspiration) behind the songs as well as the man himself. It was a lot more dramatic that the light-hearted We Will Rock You, but it was thoroughly enjoyable.
In all honesty, it was (for us) not a very big leap from our local theatres back home in South Africa to London's magical West End. I think that the most notable difference is of course that the productions here all have their own theatres, whereas ours are run in seasons in either the Baxter or Artscape halls. That means that there is always something on the go, any day of the week, so if you're looking for something to do in London - the West End is a safe bet. The choreography, set design and singing were all to a similar standard so we were quite pleased that it had lived up to our expectations! After having such a good experience, we're definitely going to go back... only now I'm trying to convince G to go see Mamma Mia! I can't even think of how they're going to recreate an entire Greek island on stage but I can't wait to see.