There are certain artists and songs that are and will always be; timeless greats.
The hits of Frankie Valli and the four seasons are exactly that and provide the perfect soundtrack for a summers evening, so I jumped at the chance to see a new musical 'Let's Hang On' at Buxton Opera House based on the music of the man himself.
I must say first and foremost, this is not really a musical, this is a tribute show but as a tribute show, it must be one of, if not the best Frankie Valli tributes around.
Stephen James takes lead vocals in this production and guides us through the story of the four seasons and their rise to fame. James has a powerful voice with great range and although I think the Italian accent that's put on for the intros is a bit naff, he's a great choice for lead and demonstrates that throughout the set. His Rendition of 'My Eyes Adore You' is faultless and he even performed it for the real Frankie Valli a couple of years ago, I'm sure Mr Valli must have approved as I and the Buxton audience certainly did.
The band have so much energy and passion for the music and it really shows in the live performance; you could close your eyes and your at the real thing.
Dino Buttarazzi on lead guitar and Martin Peat on Bass is a match made in heaven as they bring those fantastic riffs and tunes to live while Jay Harrison on piano guided us through the slower numbers.
Although Frankie Valli is still very much touring and was only recently in Manchester, tickets to his shows sell out quickly and it becomes very hard to hear his music live, which is why I'm so happy about this show, it's not a musical, it's a recreation of the real thing and from personal experience, sounds just as good.
'Let's Hang On' performs all the hits you've come to love including 'Sherrie', 'The Night' and 'Grease' to name just a few but the band also perform a number of great b-side tracks which often get overlooked.
The stage is a fairly simple but effective design with a large screen which displays images and videos from the four seasons behind the band to show the original band in its prime.
The second half brings even more hits, and that means even more opportunities to dance and sing to these iconic songs, which the audience did and most were on their feet dancing in the aisles; just when you think you've heard all the Valli hits, the guys here at Buxton hit you with another one.
My personal favourite had to be 'Walk like a Man' which is the ultimate feel good song and was performed on the Buxton Opera House stage with such flair and joy that it was a real pleasure to watch.
For the most part; the band was in harmony apart from the brass section in the second half who seemed to be arguing on stage throughout, even pushing each other at one point, this let the show down and was unfortunate because the rest of the show was very slick, especially the lighting which wouldn't look out of place in an arena tour.
Let's Hang On is a terrific tribute show that does justice to the legends that are Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons and that's no easy task, as magical as the real thing.
Reviewer: Max Eden
Reviewed: 26th May 2017
North West End Rating: ★★★★