Although I’ve been tempted by numerous events at Alexanders, it was a Jersey Boys Tribute Act which finally lured me in (the pre-show three course meal definitely didn’t hurt). And my Mum is a huge fan – a win on all fronts. On the week running up to the event I was sent a generous menu to pick from – it seemed like the food would be as much of an event as the show – I went for:
- Homemade Seafood Chowder Served with Bread and Butter
- Cod Fillet with Pancetta and Pesto Sauce with Lemon infused New Potatoes and Peas
- Chocolate Orange and Hazelnut Tart
- And for good measure – a bottle of Bad Eye Deer Sauvignon Blanc (an additional £16)
The bar was already loud and busy when we arrived, but we were quickly swept round the corner to where the performance would take place. Our table was perfect, almost central, and on a raised platform – where we would smugly have a full view of the singers. Other diners were situated along the sides. As instructed, we’d arrived at about 7pm (with the show due to kick off at 9:30pm). As our starters arrived and we hungrily tucked in, the room slowly filled up, including people arriving for a few pre-drinks.
I didn’t want to hit the wine too heavily, and a large pitcher of lemon water with ice was brought over (I was especially glad of this later when the place heated up).
My starter was delicious and wholesome and the courses came out regularly. The cod was perfectly cooked, and the pancetta worked wonderfully to compliment. But the star of the show for me was the tart – I’ve got a real sweet tooth. It was light but rich, and a great size. By the time we’d finished up, a lot more people had arrived, including the Jersey Boys themselves who were warming up and getting the sound right, with a rendition of, ‘Can’t take my eyes off you.’
Their singing was silly good, even pre the bright red suits and dance moves. Consider us excited.
By the time they came on, a little after 9:30pm, Alexanders was heaving. We soon realised our perfect table would fall short, as customers crowded into every available nook and cranny around us. As the performance area isn’t raised at all, as soon as someone stands in front of you, you can’t see anything.
I’m torn on this – on the one hand, for 90% of attendees this didn’t matter a jot – they’d come for a big night out of dancing and drinking, and were having the time of their lives. But for Mum (and a few people at surrounding tables), who wanted to sit back, relax, and enjoy the show, it was a big problem. She wouldn’t have been able to stand for very long, so joining in was out of the question. Not seeing much of the act was a real shame – their co-ordinated dancing was all part of the magic. Still – I couldn’t fault the vocals – they were all incredibly talented, and made it seem effortless.
Soon, our table became the main place for people to drop off their empty glasses, and staff couldn’t fight through the crowds to clear – hey – it happens. Cue the second act and a costume change (black suits this time). Most people were fully into the swing of it by this point and it was boiling! This half was all about cover songs – though initially I was a bit disappointed, I was soon delighted. They picked some of my favourites (including ‘A Little Respect’ and ‘Runaround Sue’) from across the decades, evidently ones they could perform beautifully.
The scene soon reminded me of a wedding drawing to a close, with a few drunken uncles, heads thrown back as words were belted out, and a woman slumped over her husband after a little over-indulgence. The 40+ Chester crowd really know how to party! On a different night, had I been out with my friends, I might have been dancing too – it definitely looked fun. But I’d set myself up (as Mum had) for a relaxed evening, with some lovely food, enjoying the linguistic stylings of the Jersey Boys.
It’s a very intimate venue, and the lack of a raised stage means that staying bum in seat will never work out – duly noted for next time. I’d definitely like to see this talented group again, but somewhere I can truly appreciate them, where they’re not talked over and just a bit of background – they’re much better than that.