|Image Source: Royal Court Theatre|
Date: October 13 2015
Location: Royal Court Theatre
Although it's always a thrill to see an actor, a group or a show travel the globe to showcase their skills, there's nothing like watching them live in their home town. And that is what we get with the Liverpool performance of Let It Be, a hugely popular show based around the music of The Beatles, which has been held in the likes of Broadway in New York and the West End in London, but has now come home, so to speak, by holding shows in the city where it all began for the Fab Four, Liverpool, England.
Let It Be has no real storyline as such, with the show instead taking the form of a historical tribute to The Beatles. In some respects, it is a show of two halves, with the first half charting the evolution of The Beatles from their beginnings in The Cavern Club to their eventual expansion to America via their performance at Shea Stadium (with screens and videos providing a suitable background for each mini-collection of songs), and with the second part taking more of a concert feel, as the remainder of The Beatles' most famous tunes are performed as one long, singular set.
It isn't just a Beatles tribute act though: the songs are largely performed in chronological order, the locations in the first half are also chronological by showing the ever-evolving global explosion of BeatleMania, and the performers perform in suitable attire based on the eras and the songs, from the classic black suit look to the more elaborate costumes used for Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. In between chapters, as alluded to, are video clips and photographs, complete with voice-overs, which also tell the story of The Beatles, albeit briefly so as to ensure that the music remains the focus of the show.
All of the hits are performed: as well as the title hit Let It Be, you'll hear Can't Buy Me Love, She Loves You, I Want To Hold Your Hand, We Can Work It Out, Twist and Shout, Drive My Car, Eleanor Rigby, Penny Lane, Lady Madonna, Get Back, Something and, to conclude the show (unsurprisingly), Hey Jude. In total, more than 40 songs are performed, meaning there's a fairly good chance that your favourite Beatles track will be featured at some point.
Paul Canning (playing John Lennon), Emanuele Angeletti (playing Paul McCartney), John Brosnan (playing George Harrison, and who hails from Liverpool himself) and Luke Roberts (playing Ringo Starr) all do an admirable job of bringing you back to the days when The Beatles were ruling the music world, with Canning in particular impressing by paying homage to John Lennon not only in appearance and during songs, but also in the breaks between tunes where his voice is a dead-on impersonation of Lennon. In addition, the backing crew have their moments to shine, and the set designs are simple yet clever and very realistic, especially during the Sgt. Pepper section of the show. It's also worth noting that the use of 1960s video footage, from then-current TV advertisements to classic footage from the 1966 World Cup Final, is a nice touch and a fun way to keep the audience's attention during down times.
The show wasn't quite perfect - there were a number of noticeable hiccups in relation to the production and lighting - and for a Beatles show to stand out in Liverpool can be a daunting task considering the huge number of Beatles tribute acts and shows which have been performed in the city over the last few decades, from the Bootleg Beatles to the old Mathew Street Festival. However, Let It Be has wowed audiences all over the world, and given the extremely high standard that this production had to live up to impress the Liverpool crowd, it's safe to say that Let It Be was a success.
Let It Be runs at the Royal Court Theatre until Saturday November 14. If you're an avid Beatles fan, or you simply want to relive the nostalgia of the Swinging Sixties, this is a show which you should attend. We'll never be able to see The Beatles on-stage performing together again, but Let It Be brings you the closest possible experience to watching The Fab Four live.
Overall Rating: 9/10 - Outstanding