Tag Archives: Jye Frasca

Jersey Boys at the Prince Edward Theatre 2008 – 2014

10 Mar

I still remember how it all started. In 2008 I stumbled upon a few clips of this new show which had just opened at the Prince Edward Theatre. This was the first time I heard that voice and I was hooked straight away. This guy named Ryan Molloy hit all those insane notes with such ease – I was amazed and I knew I had to go and see him and the show.

It’s actually almost funny that the main reason I booked tickets for Jersey Boys was indeed Ryan and on my first visit to the show the main man was off sick. Was I disappointed? Of course I was. At least until the show started. Because once I got over the fact that Ryan wasn’t on I realised I was watching one of the slickest and most entertaining shows I had seen in my life. The timing in Jersey Boys is incredible and doesn’t fail to amaze me even after almost 6 years of watching the show. That combined with the incredibly talented cast made me fall in love with Jersey Boys straight away. In case you are wondering, my first Frankie Valli was no other than the wonderful Jye Frasca who still has a place in my top 3 favourite Frankies.

I started out with the odd visit every 2 months which means I only got to see the original London cast a few times. It wasn’t until after the first cast change that I became a proper regular at the show. But once I started there was no going back for me and up to 4 visits a month became the norm pretty quickly.

And here I am, almost 6 years later. I have seen this show develop over the years, I have seen performers come and leave. Every cast has had something special. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss the “Original Four” though: Ryan Molloy, Stephen Ashfield, Glenn Carter and Philip Bulcock. Those four guys had a special chemistry that no other Four Seasons combo has been able to match so far (at least in my opinion).

So many wonderful people have graced the stage at Jersey Boys since 2008 – it’s impossible to name them all. I feel extremely lucky to have met some of the most talented and nicest performer in the West End through this show, many of whom I have continued to support after they moved on to other shows.

This show has been a big part of my theatre life for the past 6 years. And now that its time at the Prince Edward Theatre has come to an end I feel a huge loss. Yes, I realise this is not the end of Jersey Boys. In less than a week a brand new cast (including some familiar faces) will open the show at its new home, the Piccadilly Theatre. However, this is the end of my time as a Jersey Boys regular. Unlike other fans I won’t be moving with the show. For me Jersey Boys at the Prince Edward Theatre was something special and no matter how good the new cast may be, I just feel that it’s time for me to close this chapter.

I have loved my 6 years at the Prince Edward Theatre – a place I could probably call my second home by now. I have met some dear friends through this show and I wouldn’t change a thing about my time spent at Jersey Boys.

So many people had a part in making those years a wonderful experience, from the cast to everyone working backstage, from the band to the lovely people at the box office and the front of house staff. This is my way of thanking each and every one of you. Without you Jersey Boys would not have been such a great place to spend an evening (exactly 182 of them in my case).

I have to take an extra moment to thank one person in particular because without him I might never have booked my first ticket for the show and I might not have stayed with it all those years. Ryan Molloy is not just an amazingly talented performer but also a wonderful person and I’m happy and proud to call myself a supporter of him and his work. I salute his 6 years commitment to Jersey Boys and even though I think leaving the show is the right decision I am terribly sad I will never get to see his Frankie again.

All things must come to an end and my Jersey Boys journey ended on 9th March 2014. This doesn’t mean I will never watch the show again. There is no way I am not going to jump at the chance of seeing Ben Wheeler’s Tommy DeVito or Mark Isherwood’s Nick Massi. But my days as a regular visitor are definitely over. It’s time to start a new chapter. Let’s see where it takes me.

Little trip down memory lane in pictures

 

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Fiesta – The Sun Also Rises at Trafalgar Studios 2 – 9th February 2013

12 Feb

First of all I think I should mention that I have not read Hemingway’s novel on which this play is based so obviously I can’t compare the two. However I have been told that characters have been cut and the story slightly altered in the stage adaption.

In this play Alex Helfrecht directs a four people cast and a Jazz Trio which remains part of the staging throughout the show. The intimacy of the venue helps to make the audience feel part of the action on stage. To be honest I could have done with being slightly less part of it especially when it came to being slashed with “red wine” – my friend actually ended up with a few red spots on her trousers.

Photo call, December 2012

Photo call, December 2012

Gideon Turner plays Jake, a WWI veteran and sports reporter who is haunted by his past and driven by his obsession for bullfighting. He is reunited with Lady Brett Ashley (Josie Taylor), the only woman he has ever loved but the two stumble into a love triangle when Jake’s friend, the novelist Robert Cohn (Jye Frasca) falls for Lady Ashley and cancels his wedding to be with her. To make things worse the handsome young matador Pedro (Jack Holder) appears and complicates the situation even more. In the end it is him – probably the most innocent of the four – who suffers the most because Robert can’t cope with the fact that “his” Brett doesn’t love him and has actually just used him for physical pleasure in the spur of the moment.

I admit it took me a while to get into the play. I found the first act to be slightly slow and a bit confusing but the latter might have been due to the fact that I went into the whole thing without the slightest clue what the play (and the book) was about. The second act on the other hand was gripping and I loved the few pieces of comedy that were thrown in to lighten up the rather dark and tense atmosphere of the story.

fiesta2

Jye Frasca is absolutely fantastic as the boyish Robert who has grown up being an outsider. I enjoyed Gideon Turner’s take on Jake and was pretty impressed by Josie Taylor who plays a character that is both passionate and free-spirited. Jack Holden manages to portray the bullfighter Pedro with just the right amount of comedy without turning his character into a joke.

All in all this play is refreshing and innovative. It does need some work to make the story flow better especially in act one. But all in all it is definitely worth seeing. Please don’t watch it expecting light entertainment or you might be disappointed. And be aware that Jazz music is quite prominent throughout the play (personally I found the drums slightly too loud for my liking and I’m usually not bothered by loud music). I know this particular style of music is not to everyone’s taste so I thought I would point it out.

Fiesta (The Sun Also Rises) performed at the Trafalgar Studios

Personally I’m going back to watch the show a second time at the end of the month – and before that I will read the novel to get more insight into the characters and the whole background. I guess it will be interesting to see how much difference this makes to my understanding of the play.

Fiesta – The Sun Also Rises is running at Trafalgar Studios 2 until 2nd March. For more info and to book tickets go to http://fiestawestend.com/

A West End Christmas – December 4th 2011

10 Dec

The 8th A West End Christmas once again took place at St. Paul’s (The Actor’s) Church in Covent Garden. I have no idea why I’ve never attented the event before – there honestly are no excuses for missing out on an evening like this. So obviously all I can say is: Shame on me!

West-end-christmas

First of all The Actor’s Church is an absolutely beautiful place for a Christmas concert. I felt all chistmassy right after I’d stepped inside. And the lovely people from Theatre MAD made me feel welcome straight away.

The concert started with the cast of The Lion King singing “Can’t help falling in love with you” which was beautifully arranged and certainly got everyone in the mood for an evening full of songs and joy.

I’m not going to review every single performance of the evening but I’d like to mention a few of my personal highlights.

Maureen Lipman reading “Twelve days of Christmas – A correspondence” was pure brilliance. Such timing and so very entertaining!

I was so happy to see and hear the lovely Jye Frasca at the concert. He did a wonderful version of “Home for Christmas” by Angelym Benson and Bobby Cronin which I really enjoyed. I’m keeping my fingers crossed it won’t be long until we get to see this talented young man back on stage in the West End.

Emma Lindars and Landi Oshinowo singing “Miss you most at Christmas time” is what I would call a show stopper. Those two voices together are just breathtaking and I can safely say that everyone inside the church was mesmerized by those two amazing ladies.

I remember seeing Kieran Brown in the ensemble of Love never dies (sadly I never managed to catch him as Raoul) and it was great to hear him sing not one but two songs at the concert (one accompanied by the fantastic Musical Theatre Academy). Such a greatc singer! I really enjoyed “Christmas with the in-laws”, a song I hadn’t heard before. And “Christmas eve” was simply beautiful.

After hearing him sing at this concert I definitely want to see Scott Garnham as Enjolras in Les Miserables. What a voice! Loved hearing his “A Winter’s Tale”.

Will Barratt did a completely stunning version of “My grown up christmas” and Alison Jiear’s “Climb ev’ry mountain” was absolutely fabulous.

Out of the group numbers I have to say Legally Blonde were my personal favourites. Their Christmas medley was both festive and had a bit of an uptempo touch to it which I liked a lot. And Stephen: Loved the moves! 😉

A bit of a funny incident was a little song mishap. The Royal Academy of Music and Shrek both did a wonderful medley which coincidentally contained one identical song. But hey, who cares! Both groups did a fantastic job and I absolutely didn’t mind listening to such a lovely song twice.

The whole evening really managed to get me into the Christmas mood. I actually put up the Christmas tree the next day and decorated the whole house.

It’s fantastic there is  an organization like Theatre MAD that puts together amazing events like A West End Christmas year after year. It’s a wonderful evening and all for a great cause. Hopefully events like this will be part of London’s theatre community for years and years to come.

Thank you to everyone involved in this festive evening. This was my first visit to A West End Christmas but certainly not my last.

 For more info in Theatre MAD please go to http://www.madtrust.org.uk