Bye Bye Baby is a thoroughly enjoyable tribute to the music of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. On until February 28th at Joburg Theatre, this show will have you singing along and tapping your feet (or, like the guys behind me, trying to copy the movements of the guys on stage – I kid you not!) to all those well-loved tunes that you never even realised you remembered all the words to!! It’s a feel-good, smile-inducing crowd-pleaser that ticks all the boxes to be an absolute winner!
The four vocalists – Jamie Ledwith, Mitchell Rutter, Tim Kay and Dan Goddard – have the
charm and personality to woo their audience into a loved-up trance so that by the time they’ve reached their final number of the first act, Let’s Hang On, everyone was truly hanging on to every word they sang.
That charm carries them through a multitude of sins: the adorable choreography for example. None of these performers can be said to be dancers by any stretch of the imagination, but with their inimitable appeal they manage to carry it off with aplomb. At times, they also falter through some of their scripted lines, but again, we forgive them because they’re endearing and let’s face it, they’re here to sing, not to talk!
The simple backdrop screen takes us through a nostalgic photographic history of the original Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons and stills of many of their hit singles in record format. Together with the simply draped red curtains and the basic costumes, it’s a reminder that back in the day, the original boybands just got up and sang with no special effects and no fuss and drama. It was all about the music, the performers and their voices. Things were certainly a lot simpler back then!
All the favourites are included in the line-up (Big Girls Don’t Cry, My Eyes Adored You, Rag Doll, Walk Like a Man to name just a few), but by the time the boys were winding down to the inevitable end of the show, they’d definitely kicked things up a notch or two and when the intro to the title track of Grease started playing (to cries of “I’d forgotten Frankie sang this!” and, next to me “I didn’t know Frankie sang this!!!”), we were all singing along rather loudly! That merged into Can’t Take My Eyes off of You, and then Bye Bye Baby at which point nobody even cared if they remembered the words or not – they were all just singing merrily away because they were all just having such a good time! The Finale medley is just a whole heap of fun and there were people literally dancing in the aisles! (And by the way – there are no spoilers here – this set list is all in the program!)
So, for an extremely enjoyable night out at the Joburg Theatre, go and book some tickets at www.webtickets.co.za. It really is a lot of fun!
[Photo’s not credited are my own.]