The last play I watched was The Book of Mormon by the writers’ of SouthPark. It’s easy to go to theatre in London because you know it’s the top of the league, best of the world. As a kid, my parents often took me to cultural events from Bread at the Good Hope Centre to numerous ballets at the “Nico Malan” (Artscape) as it was known back then. As we get older we recall those concerts that were 3 songs too long, 2 dances too long, interesting, but as kids we get ants in our pants. But why as we grow older do we seldom give it a chance again?
After the Book of Mormon I was determined to keep my life interesting in Cape Town. People complain about the city being so small but really, how often do they do something that isn’t their norm? We’re all guilty of it. So I decided to attend Jersey Boys after seeing many positive Tweets in my newsfeed. Maybe we’re missing out now that we’re adults!
Last night my partner and I attended Jersey Boys. It was great to be back at the Artscape! It seems so much smaller now that I’m older and they don’t have R40 boxes of chocolate nuts anymore but their bar service has definitely improved.
Jersey Boys is the story of a pop group from Jersey who made it out the small neighbourhood and onto the global stage. Do you remember that scene from 10 Things I Hate About You when Heath Ledger slides down the pole at the football field singing You’re Too Good To Be True? Can’t take my eyes off of you…well that’s Frank Vali (Oh What a Night, Big Girls Don’t Cry, Walk Like A Man, +). All these songs that we’ve heard numerous times over the years but didn’t realise it was the same group!
The stage was set and the sets were very simplistic which I initially didn’t like but as the show continues it all makes sense. They’ve used minimal props but then have awesome screens to accompany the scenes that drop down with various visuals. They set a scene with TV cameras (like when they film the dance in Grease) but the screens above the act then show the footage being “filmed”. It’s obviously pre-recorded but looks fantastic. When they scan over the audience it’s a 50’s audience but I couldn’t help bring tricked into looking for us LOL It’s really well done.
The actors do a fantastic job and I was interested to see our level of talent after the West End. I was convinced that two of the guys were actually American, but they’re not! Emmanual Castis is from Isidingo (which I’ve never watched and constantly miss references when others talk of it) and plays Niki in Jersey Boys. He does SUCH a brilliant job. He was my favourite! His accent is flawless (I’ve watched a lot of Mob Wives, I know what the drawl should sound like!!!).
Franki Vali is played by Grant Almirall who has an incredible range. I kept anticipating his voice to crack when he hit the high notes but it never did. His accent was also fantastic and he really played the part very, very well. The main narrator was Tommy DiVito played by Daniel Buys. Although I wasn’t sure if he was local or not, his acting and singing was on point. He was the dominant figure for most of the show without overshadowing the others. Always a tough balance to achieve when the story is based about a few main characters. Kenneth Meyer played the 4th “Season” who’s background was not from “the old neighbourhood”. His accent wasn’t as strong as the others but I could tell that he had had accent training and had dissected the entire script and practised it word for word. There was just something about his intonation that gave him away as a local. He played the odd one out perfectly though, seen as the guy who the group needed but didn’t want to need.
The girls also did a great job as they were playing numerous characters throughout the piece. Multitasking for the win!
After attending film acting school myself, I’m in awe of “triple treats” – singing, dancing, acting actors. It really shows that the more you learn from an early age, the better your performance is if you make it into the industry. My only issue with the show was that it was a little too soft initially. I was scared to cough in case the whole audience would hear! Maybe I’ve just been to too many electronic music gigs but I could have easily have had the show much louder – music always translates better the louder. 😉
The combination of performances and electronic intervention of the backgrounds made for a modern version of an old school story. There is nothing dated about this production and I encourage EVERYONE under 40 to support our local artists and musicians by attending Jersey Boys. If you don’t want Cape Town to be boring, don’t be boring.
Jersey Boys is on at the Artscape theater until the 4th of August 2013 and tickets are available from the Jersey Boys SA website.
P.S There were so many Dad’s singing along in the audience, it was the cutest thing! So if your friends are being boring, ask your Dad if he’s keen to go to the show 🙂