Let is Be is not a musical – if you are after a narrative explanation of the Beatles’ life as a band it is best to seek out BackBeat. This production is an all-music journey, two hours of the most popular and famous hits. Interestingly only since Michael Jackson died (he owned the rights to a majority of Beatles tracks) have producers been able to use this famous band’s songs in productions. They seem to now be taking full advantage.
There are two bands who share performing duties across the week. I watched Michael Gagliano as John Lennon (guitar and vocals), Ian B. Garcia as Paul McCartney (bass guitar and vocals), John Brosnan as George Harrison (guitar and vocals) and Phil Martin as Ringo Starr (drums). All four men try hard to be convincing as their Liverpudian alter-egos (cue accents and gesturing) and they all have notable talent, but this show doesn’t show that off to the full.
I find that there is little to comment on… the lack of story and acting means it is like watching a good cover band. Indeed in some ways this group of musicians appear more versatile than the original fab four. The cast have character, and the frequent costume and wig changes help… but branding Let it Be as a show doesn’t make sense. I expected more, but once I accepted the lack of drama I began to relax and enjoy the music more.
Occasionally there is a fifth, extra, plain dressed musician lurking in the background providing the orchestral vibe on a keyboard. He a) doesn’t get much credit and b) looks a bit draft when obviously everyone knows there were only four Beatles. It is not well planned and distracts the viewer from believing the band’s reincarnation.
I enjoyed the song choices, most of my favourites and the cast worked hard to encourage the audience to rise to their feet and join in the choruses. Towards the end I even began to have fun.
For Beatles fanatics this is a must see, and it is perfectly adequate as a fun musical night out, but perhaps more of a show for tourists, there is just not enough in ‘Let it Be’ to keep Londoners entertained.
Continues until 19 January, book here.