Review round-up: What the critics said about Jersey Boys

Originally posted on March 20th Jersey Boys

I haven’t seen Jersey Boys yet, so I was intrigued to see what the critics said after this week’s opening night. As ever, the reviews are mixed – The Telegraph, The Times and Daily Mail were all very positive, The Independent underwhelmed, and The Guardian disappointed.

I look forward to make up my own mind in due course, but in the meantime, here’s a round-up of the reviews I’ve read:

Guardian review – Lyn Gardner (click here)
2 stars

  • “If you are happy to pay to see an ace tribute act with a few biographical facts and a slick design, then go. If you are looking for satisfying theatre, try elsewhere.”
  • “But if the music is terrific, the story is as bland as the lyrics of the songs.”
  • “A pleasant, forgettable night out; no more, no less.”

Telegraph review – Charles Spencer (click here)

  • “It has a quality you rarely find in musicals – gritty honesty – as well as the best collection of pop hits since Mamma Mia!”
  • “it is the music most people will go for, and it is delivered with high fidelity, from cheesy novelty numbers to classic smash hits.”
  • “Overpaid, oversexed and over here, it will, I suspect, be some time before London says Bye Bye Baby (Baby Goodbye) to the phenomenal Jersey Boys.”

Times review – Benedict Nightingale (click here)
4 stars

  • “It has the character, the narrative interest and the sense of place to rise way above its genre.”
  • “There were times last night when I felt the performers were making even the Beatles sound somewhat lacking in musical texture.”

Independent review – Paul Taylor (click here)
“a faintly frustrating night”

  • “The book by Woody Allen collaborator, Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice has a terse, savvy wit.”
  • “in strong, soaring voice, Ryan Molloy skilfully intensifies the emotional power as the diminutive Frankie over an evening that embraces brushes with the Mob, a failed marriage, and betrayal by one of his partners.”
  • “much of the short-winded drama feels like an exercise in vicarious nostalgia – a trip down somebody else’s memory lane”
  • “Too good be true? In general, Jersey Boys is more a case of ‘Oh What A Faintly Frustrating Night’.”

Daily Mail review – Quentin Letts (click here)
“a big thumper of a show”

  • “I must say I thoroughly enjoyed it”
  • “This is a big thumper of a show with fantastic songs”
  • “when the music is this good you can forgive a show almost anything”


Roundup – a reminder of where you can find the full reviews…
Guardian review (Lyn Gardner) – click here
Telegraph review (Charles Spencer) – click here
Times review (Benedict Nightingale) – click here
Independent review (Paul Taylor) – click here
Daily Mail review (Quentin Letts) – click here

For more information about the show, and to book tickets, visit the official website


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