BEATLEMANIA was a force of nature. Its time may have passed, but the Fab Four’s legacy and influence doesn’t look likely to diminish any time soon. At the Playhouse last night, Let It Be was a triumphant celebration of the legendary Liverpudlians.
* * * * *
The show took the audience on a helter-skelter trip from the Cavern in the early 60s all the way to the final concert on the roof of the Apple building, via the famous Royal Variety Show (and Lennon’s ‘rattle yer jewelry’ quip), Shea Stadium and a recreation of the Sergeant Pepper Album cover. It even included a delightful ‘what if the Beatles did MTV Unplugged’ section.
Not quite musical theatre, not just a concert, the show was more of a re-enactment of their most celebrated moments. The genuine Beatles would have loved playing with the moving lights, staging and especially the multi-media screens on offer in Let It Be.
The screens worked hard, setting the scene for each era, showing close-ups of the band or archival audience footage and, during costume changes, entertaining with 1960s TV adverts.
Barely a note out of place throughout the show, the highlights included stunning versions of A Day In The Life, While My Guitar Gently Weeps and Long And Winding Road.
The Beatles’ sound and appearance are hardwired into the collective consciousness these days, so no-one was going to be completely fooled by the Faux Four. The adequate wigs and excellent replica clothes went a long way to building the illusion, but it was the performers’ energy that made the show really work.
Fame Academy and Eurovision contender, James Fox had all the bouncy perkiness of McCartney, while Michael Gagliano got Lennon’s quirky mannerisms down pat. Ben Cullingsworth was a suitably grumpy Ringo, and John Brosnan nailed George’s original guitar hero chops.
Die-hard Stones fans might not have been impressed, but the show wasn’t for them. The audience sang, clapped, cheered, waved like teenagers and even screamed (when ‘Lennon’ asked them too). All they needed was love and Beatles magic, and they got exactly that.
Run ends Saturday