Musical Director: John Maher
Reviewer: Fraser MacDonald
Billed as “A celebration of the music of The Beatles”, Let It Be is packed with the hits of the Fab Four but struggles to live up to their incredibly high standard.
The curtain rises to reveal a virtual Cavern Club projected on the vast Playhouse stage, complete with the four Liverpool lads – mop tops, skinny black trousers and the famous Beatle boots all present and correct.
Act I sweeps from the Cavern Club days to Sgt. Pepper. From the outset, the would-be John, Paul, George and Ringo – are a little flat. The cheeky chat that The Beatles, Lennon in particular, was famous for is forced to the point that it is almost a parody of itself. Nonetheless, the hits are fired out one after the other; an occasional scene change takes us to a new phase in the career of the Fab Four.
The set gives a decent overview of The Beatles’ nine recording years, playing the hits that people want to hear. To cram as many in, some are cut, but in such a way only those that know the records inside out could distinguish. The catalogue is performed well, although the vocals on these records are so iconic it is difficult for the cast to live up to the originals. John (Paul Canning) and Paul (Emanuele Angeletti) both strain at times to mimic the ranges of the duo when solo, but when together they achieve a marvellous sound.
Costumes and instruments are like-for-like the originals and add a real sense of authenticity. They illustrate the band’s incredible career through fashion as much as through sound and it is this that makes Let It Bemore than just a tribute show.
Where the production fails to succeed is in its minimalistic set. Small embellishments are incorporated in the Sgt. Pepper section and add a great deal of depth to an otherwise barren stage. Lighting brings the stage to a certain level of atmosphere, but the lack of ambition lets the rest of the show down.This is a disservice to the paying public, who expect some degree of spectacle for their ticket price.
Nonetheless, it would be impossible not to praise the production for bringing the timeless songs of the Fab Four to the people in the way Let It Be has. Any Beatles fan is sure to enjoy what is on offer, and while the quality of the performance may be inferior to the likes of The Bootleg Beatles, this show certainly offers its audience a good night out.
Runs until 23 April 2016 | Image: David Munn