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Wednesday, February 20, 2013
A Beatles musical was always going to be a tricky production to get right.
How to do justice to a back-catalogue of chart smash after chart smash from arguably the greatest rock ‘n’ roll band to have graced the earth?
What would be absolutely vital, on any attempt, is to make sure the musicians are the cream of the crop and able to breathe real life into hits as generation-defining as the Fab Fours’.
Luckily, Let It Be, the musical that has transferred from its original run at the Prince of Wales Theatre to the Savoy for an eight-month run has stars of such calibre.
The four go through the singles pretty much chronologically, starting with the band’s cheery youthful melodies and ending with their deeper, more experimental outpourings.
True to history, the outfits evolve as the band does, taking in delightful sartorial turns on the foursome’s psychedelic and eastern phases.
Highlights of the show include my While My Guitar Gently Weeps, performed with spine-tingling soul by Stephen Hill as George Harrison, and Hey Jude, complete with suitably eccentric yells and hollers in the final third by Emanuele Angeletti, aka Paul McCartney.
Aside from a few interesting clips of life in the Sixties shown on two big vintage-looking TV screens (including a hilarious advert for cigarettes, complete with a young bride taking a long, hard drag) there is little else in the way of theatre as the production lets the songs speak for themselves.
The vocals and musical arrangements are so spot on, at times some may wonder what the point of it all is - you could just stick on a few CDs at home and save yourself the theatre trip. But many Beatles fans won’t be disappointed with the chance to remind themselves of the musical genius of a band that managed so much in a mere seven years.
And if you love waving your arms in the air for a Hey Jude singalong, this one is definitely for you.
Let It Be is at the Savoy Theatre until October 5.