MusicalReviewSouth WestTribute

Let it Be – Theatre Royal Plymouth

Creative Supervisor: Keith Strachan
Sound Designer: Mike Whyte
Musical Director: John Maher
Reviewer: Karen Bussell

Tracking the changing sounds and fashions from The Cavern through hallucinogenic halcyon days to Abbey Road, Let It Be encapsulates – for a couple of hours at least – what itmight have been like to have been there at the rise of Liverpool’sfavourite sons.

If you’re looking for a Beatles biopic, however,Let It Be is not it. But if what you want is a two-dimensional night of tribute band-like greatest hits, this award-winning spectacular is right on point complete with plenty of opportunities to sing along, stand, clap, twist and shout, take photos and video.

And archive clips of Beatlemania and moments in time – Vietnam, world cup, advertsand Nixon – add a whiff of nostalgia as all the hits, including Twist and Shout, Hey Jude, Yesterday, She Loves You, Eleanor,Let It Be, Come Together, A Hard’s Day Night, Can’t Buy Me Love, Yellow Submarine, Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, Abbey Roadand Hey Jude, come thick and fast.

Video designers Darren McCaulley, Duncan McLean and Mathieu St Aunard augment the sets to add atmosphere and arches in the gloomy Cavern, and hippy-trippy psychedelics to backdrop the Sgt Pepper and Abbey Road eras with Humphrey McDermot’s tremendous lighting spot-on (but be warned there is plenty of strobing and flashing).

Lynne Greig’s wardrobe accurately mimics the garb of the four – which is more than the cast whose few and far between spoken bits occasionally stray from the Liverpudlian accent. But good observation of gesture, stance and dance shines through from the four accomplished look- and (singing) sound-alikeys.

Reuven Gershon is the most vocal as John showcasing the pre-intense Lennon as a bouncy cheeky chappie whose wry comments border on the flippant rather than the rude, while Stuart Wilkinson is Ringo, very much in the background but nicely nasal in Yellow Submarine.

The cast then goes off-piste with two unknowns not mentioned in the programme.

Roberto Angelelli is a dour, mildly irritating George Harrison; however his rendition of the breathtakingly beautifulWhile My Guitar Gently Weeps is exquisite and worth the ticket price alone.

Iain Hornal is a fresh-faced – but right-handed – Paul channelling his inner McCartney from suited Cavern days through to barefoot Abbey Road moments with his solo Blackbird defining his plucking skills and stepping up to expected good vocals on Yesterday.

But the greatest plaudits are due to the man in the shadows Michael Bramwellwhose excellent keyboard and synthesiser skills prop up the whole production.

It may be flat and missing a storyline but with audiences bopping, singing and cheering, this jukebox musical is clearly just what the paying public wants. And if everyone is on their feet at curtain fall – even if that’s because they have hardly sat down all night – I guess that’s a standing ovation.

Runs until 30July 2016 | Image: David Munn Photography

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The Southwest team is under the editorship of Holly Spanner. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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