October 25, 2008

London Baby Part Deux

October 25th, 2008

Story and Photos by Charly O’Clarit

How does one improve on BRILLIANCE? Go ask the London Cast.

My second trip across the pond was nothing short of sensational! Ryan Molloy continues to knock it out of the park with his rousing portrayal of Frankie Valli. Ryan has a stunning voice, which really captures the essence of Valli’s sound with relative ease. He is a gifted and impressively versatile actor. The breakup scene with Mary Delgado (Suzy Bastone) segueing into “My Eyes Adored You” was particularly compelling as it was filled with deep anguish, vulnerability and heartache. Stephen Ashfield as genius songwriter Bob Gaudio was very charismatic with loads of emotional depth. I found his eyes to be very expressive… you know exactly what his character is thinking without having to say a single word. Stephen’s voice is smooth and elegant. His performance of “Cry For Me” was to die for! Stephen is pure sunshine on stage. He lit up the entire theatre with that sparkling smile. The affable Philip Bulcock is an impressive Nick Massi. He plays Nicky as a quiet brooder with a hint of OCD. Even though he is the “Ringo” of the group, Philip has strong stage presence. You can really sense his restlessness as he unobtrusively festers about the way Tommy is running the group. Philip has mastered the “Joisey” accent and does a very animated mission control (“OK, Houston, looks like all systems are go…”) voice. Ben Wheeler played Tommy DeVito as Glenn Carter was on holiday. I have to admit it did take me a performance or two to warm up to Ben’s characterization of Tommy, mind you it was only a couple of nights prior that I saw Christian Hoff’s magical last performance. Rather than playing Tommy as the brazen, misunderstood but lovable rogue, Ben’s portrayal was more of an insolent, conniving brute with few redeeming qualities. Ben had a completely different take on the Tommy character, but he gave quite a powerful performance nonetheless.

As the flamboyant record producer Bob Crewe, Simon Adkins is the highlight of many scenes with his lively movements and facial expressions. The way he saunters across the stage when he first meets Bob Gaudio had me in stitches with laughter. Simon will hopefully resume the Cast Backstage Video Blog once the malfunctioning camera is replaced. Jye Frasca plays the rambunctious and ambitious Joey Fishes to perfection. I was lucky enough to also see Jye (pronounced G Eye) go on as “Frankie.” He did a fine job, giving a memorably energetic performance of “Working My Way Back to You.” Also saw swing Kieran Jae go on as Bob Gaudio. I really enjoyed his portrayal of the musical prodigy. Kieran’s voice was very appealing and his harmonies during the ACT II medley were fantastic. Canton, Ohio born Tee Jaye plays the diverse Barry Belson track. His performance of Hal Miller’s “An Angel Cried” was pitch perfect; and the Ohio Officer is hysterical with his come hither delivery of “Make it out to luvvv muffin.”

The London production is BRILLIANT to the 10th power. Each and every cast member is ultra talented and obviously very passionate about the roles they are playing. I saw the show three times and every night I was on the edge of my seat. I found each performance to be a non-stop roller coaster of emotional intensity and I just reveled every minute of it!

The first night I was fortunate to go with Stephen’s friend and Web Mistress Extraordinaire Lynn. She was just lovely and we had a wonderful time together. I was relieved that she was just as boisterous as I was, though I had to nudge her a bit to stand after “Walk Like A Man.” Over the course of the three nights I came across so many Jersey Boys multi-timers. “Fantastically Infectious,” “Full On,” and “Phenomenally Wicked” are some of the expressions they used to describe the show. However, the majority of the audience is still relatively quiet until “Sherry” and then the “Oh, What a Night” reprise. But I did find that if you lead the applause after lines like ‘It’s a sign,” “It’s a metaphor,” “ Ten Years…” and “…you’re Ringo”) the audience eagerly follows.

When I asked one of the multi-timers why the British don’t seem to be as openly demonstrative as Americans, she told me…“We Brits are just miserable that way.” On the last night I met a gentleman by the name of Glen who hails from Cornwall; it was his 16th time seeing Jersey Boys. Glen sat right in front of me in the first row and I noticed he was pretty much subdued during ACT I. Then during intermission, with some prodding on my part, he agreed that he would stand after Ryan sung his gorgeous “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.” Though when the time came, even after I gave him a few gentle pokes to remind him…he didn’t budge. So I got up by myself… but then to my pleasant surprise, I turned around to see two ladies getting up to join me, Paula & Julie from the Cockermouth area of Cumbria; this coaxed a few others to get up as well. Even though the British are not outwardly “nuts” like we are in the States, they do absolutely love Jersey Boys. Repeat business is enough validation for their appreciation of the show. And the result…Jersey Boys London has been unofficially extended to March 2010.


  1. Great article and photos…you are so fortunate to be able to experience all the different faces and sounds of the Jersey Boys!

    Comment by Carolyn — October 25, 2008 @ 8:46 am

  2. Hey Charly, Fabulous review and photos. What a great experience. I’m so happy you got to go again. I’m almost tempted to go too, but I always end up in NY. See you soon.

    Comment by Tiggerbelle — October 25, 2008 @ 10:50 am

  3. Charly,

    You look beautiful in every picture! You are truly the ambassador extraordinaire for Jersey Boys worldwide! Great job, Charly. IE

    Comment by irene eizen — October 25, 2008 @ 11:08 am

  4. Charly,
    Great Review and Photo’s! You look Gorgeous Darling!
    You are so fortunate to go around the world and experience Jersey Boys.
    Everyone looks Great!

    Take Care and All The Best!
    Damaris Dugan

    Comment by Damaris Dugan — October 25, 2008 @ 11:18 am

  5. Hi Charly,
    Wonderful write and fabulous photos, as always!! I couldn’t agree with you more about the brilliance of the London production. I was fortunate to see Jye on as Frankie in July, and he was a spectacular Frankie. Everyone in the cast is top notch, as you noted. Can’t wait to get back and experience the London magic again!

    xo, Pam

    Comment by Pamela — October 25, 2008 @ 11:20 am

  6. Hey Charly:

    Thanks so much for your review! I loved that part about the British being a bit subdued!

    I went with my husband last Saturday night – 3rd time for me, first for him….. he loved the show and I just can’t wait to go again – started saving already for the spring 09!!!

    Also, a huge thanks for the news that the show is to be extended for another year!!!

    Truly love your review!!!

    Comment by Laurie Allen — October 25, 2008 @ 12:54 pm

  7. Charly: What great photos and a terrific review. I felt like I was sitting in the theater with you. You make me want to hop a plane and go see this cast again. I agree with all you’ve written. I would love to see some swings and understudies perform. They bring a whole different perspective to the roles. I agree with Irene, also, you always look beautiful.

    Comment by LindaL — October 25, 2008 @ 1:01 pm

  8. Great Pictures Charly!! You look Fabulous Darling!!

    Thanks Charly, You do look Beautiful, Always, Jody :)

    Comment by Jody Cardillo — October 25, 2008 @ 1:51 pm

  9. Charly, are you sure you’re not a correspondent for The Daily Mail? That articles and the great photos that accompanied it sure look like they came from an insider British celebrity writer! I’m glad you asked questions re: the British response to JB. Too bad they don’t loosen up and jump out of their seats to really show their appreciation. Thanks for sharing:)

    Comment by LuluThompson — October 25, 2008 @ 10:23 pm

  10. Thanks for the great pictures and recap, Charly!!

    I got to see the London JB cast when I was in London for a week in August of 2008 :) .. I saw it twice in one week!! :)
    The London JB cast is just purely AMAZING!!! Ryan Molloy plays such a great Frankie Valli and his voice is just excellent!! I absolutely loved it when he sang ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’… and during ‘Fallen Angel’, I wanted to cry :D
    Glenn Carter plays a fantastic Tommy DeVito… Glenn IS the bad boy :) And I loved it when he sang ‘Earth Angel’!!
    Stephen Ashfield is a very good Bob Gaudio!! He’s a very cute Bob and his vocals are AMAZING during ‘Cry For Me’ and ‘Oh! What a Night!’!!
    I think my favourite actor and character in JB London is Philip Bulcock as Nick Massi! :) Philip plays Nick more sexier and hotter than all the other actors that I have seen play the role of Nick Massi. Philip is definitely my favourite Nick Massi!! I absolutely LOVED Philip during the sit-down scene in Act 2… it was just brilliant!! :)
    I really can’t wait to see Jersey Boys in London again in April of 2009… I’m hoping that I might even be able to go back to London sooner… maybe THIS December :D … I’m keeping my fingers crossed!! :D

    Comment by Frances Fong-Lee — October 25, 2008 @ 10:50 pm

  11. Charly, I particularly enjoyed the English expressions in your write-up. Glenn Carter was ‘on holiday’ you say? And this Glen, who hails from Cornwall and has seen the show 16 times so far- I hope we see these chaps commenting on the Blog soon.

    Your whole article…bloody brilliant!

    Comment by Audrey — October 26, 2008 @ 10:10 am

  12. Great article and pics, Charly. I really appreciate all the details – not only in the article, but in the pictures, too!

    Comment by Catherine — October 26, 2008 @ 10:58 am

  13. Hi Charly,

    Thank you so much for the great review and the wonderful photos, everyone looks very relaxed.

    Having withdrawal symptoms at the moment as I am not due to go back until March, Sarah is back again in Feb. for her Birthday though.

    The boys are on a show tonight in London (recorded last night) Strictly Come Dancing Results show, our equivalent of your Dance with the Stars I think. I’m sure that Lynn will have it on You Tube as soon as the show is over so that you can see it where you are. Looking forward to it.

    Thanks again and take care, regards, Lesley

    Comment by Lesley — October 26, 2008 @ 12:33 pm

  14. Saw the JB London show on 18th October. Was fortunate to see the 4 principals but could tell that the whole cast are more than 200% committed to making this the No. 1 show in the West End! Long may it continue. As with other JB fans, totally hooked Have another 3 tickets booked over the coming months, attending matinees and evening shows and looking forward to each one – the staging, choreo, writing let alone the music are second to none. Fabulous!

    Comment by Pipalina — October 26, 2008 @ 12:58 pm

  15. OH MY – I want to go back again! Loved the article and the pictures. I am soooooo jealous!

    Comment by Gladys — October 26, 2008 @ 3:50 pm

  16. Thank you all for the kind comments. The London production really is a must see. As soon as I win the lottery…I’m taking all of you to London. It would be great to see the Prince Edward “Rocking” out!!

    Audrey, I have a horrible habit of copying accents when I’m abroad. I’m sure I drove people crazy. I do though find it difficult to say “Mind The Gap” in an American/Southern Californian accent. For those not familiar, “Mind The Gap” is what you hear in train stations; it’s the gap between the train door and the station platform.

    Comment by Charly O'Clarit — October 26, 2008 @ 6:56 pm

  17. Great write-up Charly; you are truly beautiful in these pictures and even more so in person. I remember when we were in LA for “Les Miz” this summer and Loni Anderson joined the crowd expecting to be the belle of the stage door. She then caught one glimpse of you and quietly retreated into the background with Stubbleyou and me!!

    Comment by Howard Tucker — October 26, 2008 @ 11:06 pm

  18. hi charly..great photos and write up..the london cast are amazing..spesh the gorgeous glenn carter!..seen it 10 times now..and 5 more booked so far..

    as for the english audiences being subdued,its true..tho not when lesley and i are there..we are the first to woo hoo,and the first to get up..so next time come with us,and have a real english jersey boy experience..

    ps: lesley we lied!!..13 dec you are not off on a mystery tour in bath..we are boarding the jersey express and off to see the boys…woooo hooooooooo!

    Comment by sarah — October 27, 2008 @ 12:09 pm

  19. Hi Sarah,
    See you are going to the Jersey Boys on
    the 13th Dec and Jye Frasca is playing
    Frankie on that night. I was going to book
    tickets for the show on the 13th as well
    but i was hoping to see Ryan. So i was wondering
    have you seen Jye as Frankie?? and if so could
    you give me any feed back on his performance
    in the roll
    Many Thanks

    Comment by Sinead — November 2, 2008 @ 1:41 pm

  20. hi sinead, i havent seen jye yet as frankie tho i have read a lot of reviews from people who have said he is brilliant..we are going to the saturday matinee..is jye doing the matinee or evening performance??..

    Comment by sarah — November 3, 2008 @ 11:31 am

  21. Hi Sarah,
    Thanks for the info on Jye it was much
    appreciated. Jye is playing the evening
    and Scott is playing the matinee

    Comment by Sinead — November 3, 2008 @ 3:39 pm

  22. Congratulations to all the cast of the jersey boys
    for winning the people’s choice award for the Best
    West-End show 2008

    Comment by Sinead — November 28, 2008 @ 4:09 pm

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