This post is not going to be about the final performance of Jersey Boys in the West End. Although I have been a supporter of the show since 2008 I did not attend the performance on Sunday. Jersey Boys still does and always will hold a special place in my heart though. And I did celebrate the show on Sunday but I did it by attending Ryan Molloy’s Farewell Frankie gig at the Hippodrome in London.
For those of you that were not there and did not see anything about what happened yet I will sum it up in three words: Original Four reunited. Ryan Molloy, Glenn Carter, Philip Bulcock and Stephen Ashfield (who flew in just for a day from New York – that is dedication!) took the stage together for the first time since 2010 and gave Jersey Boys the best send off imaginable. It was a celebration of a show that has had a big impact on both its fans and the performers who have been part of it.
I will not bore you with long talk about how important Jersey Boys has been for me – I have made friends through this show and have met so many wonderful people. I have not watched it regularly for the past few years but I cherish the memories from those first six years when I was a regular at the Prince Edward Theatre. And I am happy the show continued to make people happy for another three years at the Piccadilly Theatre.
On Sunday I got the chance to celebrate Jersey Boys with the people who made me fall in love with it. And for that I cannot thank the man who made it happen enough: Ryan Molloy. What an incredible day he managed to put together: From the gig in the afternoon all the way to an aftershow party that went on until after midnight.
It was lovely to see so many former Jersey Boys (and Girls) reunited at the gig and/or the aftershow party: Ryan Molloy, Stephen Ashfield, Glenn Carter, Philip Bulcock, Suzy Bastone, Kieran Jae, Charlie Bull, Chris Gardner, Jon Boydon, Matt Wycliffe, Trina Hill, Eugene McCoy – You are all amazing. Thank you for everything.
And Ryan was right: He only offers the truth – I shit you not.
Since words cannot do the whole thing justice here are some videos for you to enjoy.
It’s always nice to see some new and original musical theatre getting a chance in the West End. Daybreak is a show by Bobby Cronin who is one of the most promising new musical composers I’ve encountered in the past few years.
Daybreak is “a coming-of-age musical journey about the troubled relationship of 40-year old painter Dylan and his in-denial wife Rebecca, whose biological clock is ticking more loudly with each passing day. The real issue with their marriage? Dylan likes to sleep with men. As the couple moves into Dylan’s childhood home in San Francisco, the story of Dylan’s parents unfolds and intertwines as memories haunt the old house.” (taken from the Tristan Bates Theatre website)
The Tristan Bates Theatre is an intimate performing space in the heart of the West End. It’s an ideal place to put on (and try out) new shows in front of a small audience. It certainly is the perfect theatre for this production which would be lost in a bigger venue. The set creates a nostagic flair which is a nice contrast to some rather modern bits in the show (a song centering around Facebook for example).
Daybreak has a cast of only four people. Suzy Bastone plays Rebecca, a woman who is desperate to have a family and who is realising throughout the show that her only dream will never come true if she stays with her husband (played by Matt Stevens). She is the real stand out in this production with a stunning voice and spot on acting. While the story itself partly lacks in substance Suzy manages to really engage the audience in Rebecca’s misery.
My main problem with the show is the fact that it seems to only concentrate on the extremes and the outbursts. I missed a few everyday situations to balance the whole story out. Having said that the emotional extremes are showcased really well thanks to some fantastic songs and great performances especially by the two females in the cast. However, the show needs to slow down a bit in terms of emotional tensions. You get thrown into a pool of heavy emotions but you don’t really get to know the characters and their everyday life.
Tom Senior (as Jamie) and Matt Stevens both have great voices and sing through the score with ease but their acting doesn’t convince completely. They both appear a bit insecure and unsure how to handle their characters’ emotional journey. Kayleigh-Louise Smith (as Kelly) has a powerful and beautiful voice and brings real depth to her character. Both her and Suzy Bastone are the highlights of this production.
Whilst Daybreak isn’t perfect and can probably do with a slight rewrite of the story to make the characters more accessible for the audience it has a lovely score with some beautiful lyrics. If you enjoy watching new musical theatre I suggest you give this a go. Bobby Cronin’s score and a stand out performance by Suzy Bastone are worth the ticket money alone.
Daybreak is showing at the Tristan Bates Theatre until June 30th 2012. To book tickets go to http://www.tristanbatestheatre.co.uk/production_details_daybreak.asp .