Photo – Kurt Sneddon
Four Seasons in One Night is the tale of an Irish boy, who moved to Australia, went to New York and took on the role of a boy from Jersey. The Irish boy is Bobby Fox and the boy from Jersey is Franki Valli who’s rags to riches journey was made into the award winning Broadway sensation Jersey Boys.
Jersey Boys tells the story of Franki Valli and the Four Seasons. Even if you don’t know Valli you will know his music and it was that voice that I wanted to hear. But if I came for the music I stayed for Bobby Fox.
Fox brings you that Franki Valli voice which you can’t get enough of and shares with you his journey from a café in New York where he enjoyed a cup of tea and a muffin to his final performance as Frankie Valli in Sydney. In this performance, as he did in the musical, Fox sings Valli and the sound is incredible. He wins your ears over with falsetto that makes you sway, shake and shimmer. Just when you think you never want him to stop singing and that nothing can top it he begins to tell you the story of his journey.
At first it appears a bit rough around the edges. It is not a flawless well-rehearsed script, instead it is Fox’s stories. He tells them to you as if you were having a beer at friends place. Although he stumbles over some of his words it doesn’t matter as his comic timing is near perfect and the stories are genuine. His candid storytelling makes you cringe with him as he tells you about the nerves at an audition that could have ended it before it all began. He makes you feel the awe and excitement of meeting Valli and sharing stories with him. Fox has performed as Valli taking on his voice and even attending workshops to make him more Valli like, but in this performace Fox makes you bellow with laughter as his personality takes centre stage.
The show swings between these two wonderful worlds. The world of Frankie Valli and those songs you know so well and the world of Bobby Fox who has wit, energy, the ability to tell a great story and a rather large dash of Irish charm.
But he doesn’t do it on his own. He has 6 musicians who play and sing which creates a great energy for Bobby to perform in. Laura Bunting on the keys and Isaac Hayward the music director and guitarist were both fun to watch. They seemed to play with an energy that matched Fox’s and watching them enjoy performing was a delight.
Fox’s performance was not only pitch perfect but he also hinted at his famous Irish feet giving us a taste of the dancer within as he moved around the stage engaging with the others. It was only a hint though as the show was not about dancing but I’m sure it would be nigh impossible for Fox to perform this role and not shuffle those shoes.
One could have easily mistaken the audience as unimpressed as they did not all sing along despite Fox’s efforts, however it was not a lack of enthusiasm it was a captivation that left you wanting to listen rather than join in. I certainly didn’t want to contaminate that pure sound with my best karaoke voice. I found myself glued to my chair frozen as those notes filled the space just as often as I found myself uncontrollably chair dancing and mouthing the words. What a great show it left me wanting to hear more of Frankie Valli and see more of Bobby Fox.
To close the show Fox shared with the audience a song he had written himself. It was a song that was influenced by all the things that Fox has done and yes there was a bit of Frankie Valli in their but it was Bobby Fox's voice, Bobby Fox’s lyrics – and what a Fantastic Mr Fox he is.
FOUR SEASONS IN ONE NIGHT
by Bobby Fox and James Millar
Venue: Glen Street Theatre, corner Glen Street and Blackbutts Road, Belrose
Dates: 2 – 7 June 2015
Tickets: $71 – $46 ($16 Student Rush)
Bookings: www.glenstreet.com.au | 9975 1455