After taking Britain by storm last year, the Bye Bye Baby show opened on the Mandela stage of the Joburg Theatre last week to much fanfare.
The show might not be the flashiest but it certainly ranks among the most entertaining productions providing a fresh take at the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. It takes audiences through the group’s ups and downs – from its formation in the 1960s to its admission into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.
The tribute contains an impressive number of hits the band released over its illustrious career, many of which are still popular 50 years on. The show features classics such as Bye Bye Baby, Big Girls Don’t Cry, Walk like a Man, Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow, Silence is Golden, The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine (Anymore) and Why Do Fools Fall in Love.
As the audience belts out the songs off key, it becomes apparent that these are not easy to sing and a talented quartet is needed.
This is where the strength of the show lies as Jamie Ledwith (Valli), Tim Kay (Tommy DeVito), Dan Goddard (Nick Massi) and Richard Campbell (Bob Gaudio) put on a spectacular show. The show’s loose nature allows each performer the spotlight to showcase his solo skills and voices. The real magic, however, happens when they come together in four-part harmony showcasing their synchronised vocals while their dancing adds a wonderful shine to the overall performance.
The four-piece band is outstanding and wonderfully complements the singers. The backdrop provides projected photographs of the performers’ real-life counterparts as well as album covers of the songs. This is a simple and effective device that gives context to the show as it lends an extra touch of nostalgia. The lighting, too, is relatively simple but extremely effective.
Audience participation is encouraged and adds to the nostalgic feel of the show. In two hours the show fits in a lot of history. It is held together by a wonderful narration of the band’s history and the struggles it faced along the way. It’s a very honest and simple tribute that puts the music at the centre.
For those who love Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons this tribute provides a great nostalgic journey. You feel great long after the show is done.
Performances are on Wednesdays to Saturdays at 8pm, and at 2pm on Sundays. Ticket prices on Wednesdays and Thursdays are R120, R190, R260 and R295.
For shows on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays they are R145, R190, R280 and R325. Visit www.joburgtheatre.com or call 0861 670 670.
There are discounts for group bookings of 10 or more. There will be a special morning performance for pensioners on Thursday 18 February. Tickets for this show are priced at R120.
For more details call (011) 877-6853/6815.