I love Let It Be.
It was number 5 in my top 12 shows of 2014, don’t you know!
I mean, technically speaking it’s not really theatre. It’s the ultimate tribute act, with the added bonus of the Fab Four’s exact mannerisms – and a real feel of the sixties with video montages & adverts appearing on the screens in between each mini-set. My favourite is probably this one.
So as long as you go into it in the right mindset, it’s fine. At least it’s not supposed to have an actual storyline!
I do have an issue with the bars remaining open during the show, as this has the potential to be majorly disruptive. Thankfully it’s not affected me yet, however I do live almost in fear of it. The permission to take photos during the show is a generous one, as long as people don’t spend the whole time sticking their cameras in your way it’s fine!
The evening kicked off with a mini-gig on the balcony of the Garrick. Other than the odd London bus getting in the way, a fantastic idea which provided brilliant advertising for the show.
And for the show proper? It’s always exciting hearing the “1, 2, 3, 4!” that starts ‘I Saw Her Standing There’. I love all eras of The Beatles, but I am definitely a sucker for their earlier Merseybeat offerings.
The benefit of Let It Be is that it allows audiences to hear authentic live versions of songs The Beatles themselves never toured. The most obvious example is the ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ set – enabled by the presence of a keyboardist (this time Michael Bramwell was on duty) and some pretty groovy lighting & graphics. ‘A Day In The Life’ is a perfect Act 1 closer (complete with Ringo’s alarm clock in the middle eight).
But what I anticipate the most is in the second half: the semi-acoustic mini-set. I’m always on tenterhooks about which tunes they’ll play! ‘Blackbird’ is stunningly beautiful, ‘Here Comes The Sun’ simply joyous – and ‘In My Life’ my absolute favourite. It never fails to make me cry! It’s essentially a very straightforward song, but that just enhances the effect it has over me.
In tracking The Beatles’ career chronologically onstage, it neatly demonstrates the journey they went through as artists and performers: pop-rock, psychedelia, peace & love, and back to rock.
And in true rock ‘n’ roll fashion we even get a traditional gig encore! ‘Back In The U.S.S.R.’ is great fun, the title song inevitable & wonderful – and closing with ‘Hey Jude’ just leaves you with a sense of unadulterated happiness.
The band this time was:
- John Lennon ~ Paul Canning
- Paul McCartney ~ Emanuele Angeletti
- George Harrison ~ John Brosnan
- Ringo Starr ~ Luke Roberts
Paul Canning captures Lennon’s cheeky nature to a tee – I particularly enjoyed him taking the mick out of his bandmates, as well as the inclusion of this immortal quote:
“For our last number, I’d like to ask your help. Would the people in the cheaper seats clap your hands. And the rest of you, if you’ll just rattle your jewellery.”
Emanuele Angeletti learnt to play the bass left-handed specifically to portray McCartney more accurately; you would never suspect this for a moment, as he always seems so natural & confident. Even whilst barefoot onstage during the Abbey Road set! He sounds so much like the real thing that if you close your eyes, it really does feel like Paul McCartney is in the room with you.
John Brosnan definitely has the look of Harrison – and by God does he have the skills! Following in the footsteps of The Beatles, George does get somewhat overlooked in this show (by the end of their time, his songwriting had developed exponentially to meet John & Paul’s standards) but there is one show-stopping George moment in the second act: ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’. An amazing song, played with such expertise – seemingly effortless.
Luke Roberts is a super-enthusiastic Starr, with a wealth of drumming talent – arguably a bit wasted, but he does add his own flair to the songs’ drums. And, much to my delight, there is a mini-drum solo in the show! I love ‘The End’ anyway, and that just makes it even better. Ringo has some great comedy moments throughout the show, giving Roberts an extra aspect to play with in the role.
The show is on until the end of September, so plenty of time to catch it. I do fully recommend it to all Beatles fans – particularly those of you who, like me, were born in the wrong era and didn’t get the chance to see the real thing. This is as close as we’re going to get!
I can guarantee that I’ll be back at the Garrick several times over the next few months – maybe I’ll see you there too?