New Jersey Nights


New Jersey Night: Bournemouth Pavilion Theatre (Tuesday 30th July, 2019)

“Does anyone remember 1964?” asked the narrator. There was a murmur from the audience, a couple of hands went up, some heads nodded.

Now 1964 was a vintage year for Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons but this looked like it was going to be hard work. Bournemouth on a damp Tuesday evening needed a bit of coaxing to get in the party mood.

Never mind. Four fine Valliesque singers, two male and two female dancers, three musicians and an additional girl vocalist gave them a dizzying number of Four Seasons hits. It did the trick. By the end of the show the audience was up on its collective feet, dancing, singing along and begging for more.

Welcome to New Jersey Nights, the wonderfully nostalgic celebration of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons which plays Bournemouth Pavilion until Saturday.

The music of course is pure gold with early hits like Sherry, Let’s Hang On, Rag Doll and Walk Like a Man evoking the spirit of New Jersey and New York in the early 1960s..

Later Valli hits included My Eyes Adored You, Grease and  Can’t Take My Eyes Of You. It was all there plus much more with tributes to other songs of the era like Phil Spector’s girl band classics by The Crystals and the Ronettes.

There were also a few snippets of information about Valli and his band from the stage. The narrative was skimpy though and leapt around in a manner that would have given Doctor Who a headache. One minute it was 1978, then 1963, then 1980 and then… I sort of lost my  bearings in the confusion of the chronology.

It didn’t matter though cos the music was vintage stuff and the performers were good. However I was left feeling that this was a production that would be greatly improved by having a bit more money thrown at it. The set was pretty basic and a few more musicians wouldn’t go amiss rather than having so much pre-programmed backing.  New Jersey Nights is essentially a budget juke box musical capitalising on the interest created by the success of productions like Jersey Boys. Perfect for summer at the seaside though.

Jeremy Miles

© Jeremy Miles 2019