ReviewSouth East

Let It Be – The Orchard Theatre, Dartford

Producer:Jeff Parry
Reviewer:Dan English

It is over 50 years since The Beatles first stormed the airwaves, yet their music continues to be loved by the masses thanks to the Let It Be musical, which makes its stop in Dartford as part of its U.K. tour.

Let It Be is everything you’d expect from a jukebox musical, retelling the story of Liverpool’s famous sons through their music, focusing on key moments from their career.

Emanuele Angeletti, Paul Canning, Paul Mannion and Stuart Wilkinson all take on the roles of the Fab Four in this slick touring production, romping through a huge number of Beatles classics (to be precise) in just under two and a half hours. Angeletti, a stalwart of the production having performed as Paul McCartney in both the London production and in subsequent tours, retrained to play the guitar left handed for the role, just as his Beatles counterpart did. All four make performing the band;s huge back catalogue effortless, with the range of vocal and instrumental talents on display simply mesmerising. What helps to raise this production to such heights is also the high energy in which the performers execute the music. The quartet makes the transitions between songs seem seamless, but more importantly, they show a clear journey in the band just through their musical talents alone. The youthful innocence of the band in Liverpool’s Cavern Club is a wild contrast to the free love championed in Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, but this contrast is well delivered by this show’s cast.

The set for this production is outstanding, with each individual section of the show marked with a fantastic set design. Each design helps to encapsulate the moment in time being looked at, with certain designs, including the section relating to the Let It Be film, being remarkable. It is a design dominated by bright, vibrant colours which perfectly sum up the colourful nature to The Beatles themselves. The use of multimedia in the set is an interesting choicebut is one that helps to blend the old and the new of both The Beatles and this production. It is a set flanked by two large projected television screens overhanging either side of the stage, with the screens showing a live stream of the action on the stage as well as audience reaction from the 60s itself. This becomes particularly effective during the section set during the band’s performance at Shea Stadium, with the projection of thousands of screaming American teens mirroring the screams of a modern day, albeit slightly older but perhaps even rowdier, audience, adding to the wonderful atmosphere.

Alongside the set design is the costume design, which closely mirrors the designs worn by the Fab Four themselves throughout their career. It is impressive just how closely the designs match the originals worn and they certain help to transport the audience back to 60s Beatlesmania.

The issue that always arises with a jukebox musical is whether the lack of any real plot can detract from the excellent musical display on show. While this is not the case in Let It Be, there perhaps is a question of whether this can be classed as a musical, with perhaps labelling of “tribute” being more apt.

Nevertheless, Let It Be is a superb homage to all things Beatles and is a triumph for all Beatles fans both new and old. It’s testimony to the band themselves for the longevity of their music, but it is equally evident that this show would not be the success it is without the energy and delivery that the current Fab Four both possesses and demonstrates. There is a few more members in Sgt.Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club band after this show.

Runs until 2July 2016 then tour continues | Image: Contributed

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A superb homage to all things Beatles

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The South East team is under the editorship of Nicole Craft. 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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