In 1970 Paul McCartney publicly announced he had left ‘The Beatles’ because of personal, business and musical differences. I missed out on a ‘Beatles’ live experience, having being born in 1977, but tonight at The Prince of Wales Theatre, I am going to see the new Beatles-themed musical ‘Let it be’.
Emanuelle Angeletti, Gordon Elsmore, Reuven Gershon, Stephen Hill, and Michael Bramwell are the musicians who are playing tonight and paying tribute to the fab four.
This may be a ‘Beatles’ concert but there are no screaming hysterical teenage girls here tonight, as the audience are of an age where they have long grown out of such behaviour. They are however ready to enjoy a nostalgic walk down a ‘Beatles’ memory lane!
The curtain rises to the band dressed smartly in suits, looking sharp and wholesome boys from next door.
There are two giant screens either side of the stage, which constantly flash images of boys riding their scooters around Brighton, photographers taking photos of Twiggy, and England winning the world cup! We are definitely being taken back to the 1960’s.
‘I wanna hold your hand’ ‘Yesterday’ and ‘Love me do’ are my personal foot tapping highlights from this section.
Next we see footage of the band travelling the world and dominating the charts wherever they go! Dressed in more snazzy attire they encourage the audience to take to their feet for ‘Twist and Shout’ and belt out hits such as ‘Hard Days Night’ and ‘Help’.
In 1967 The Beatles’ eighth studio album ‘Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band’ was released to a slew of rave reviews. Rolling Stone magazine called it ‘The most important rock ‘n’ roll album ever made’. It spent an unbelievable 27 weeks at the top of the UK album charts and it was No 1 in the Billboard charts in the USA for 15 weeks! Tonight we are reminded of why that album was such a huge hit as we are treated to the highlights. They are dressed to match the iconic album cover, vividly bright and colourful to match the surreal images and lyrics of hits such as ‘A day in the life’, ‘Lucy in the Sky with the Diamonds’ ‘When I’m 64’ and ‘A little help from my friends’.
Weird but very wonderfully dressed the band appear in the second half of the show with a definite late 60’s, 70’s feel, all long hair and orange flares. The images on the screen now show, girls dancing with flowers in their hair, protesters against the Vietnam war, and Neil Armstrong landing on the moon.
‘Abbey Road’ the band’s last recorded album went straight to No 1 for 11 weeks. The backdrop as the band sing ‘Come Together’ and ‘Here comes the sun’ is another recognisable album cover image of the group strolling across a zebra crossing; this famous zebra crossing has now been granted grade 2 listed status!
This ultimate Beatles concert, directed by Joey Curatolo, ends with a superb rendition of ‘Let it be’ and a fun audience-participating version of ‘Hey Jude’. Throughly enjoyable from start to finish, the talented musicians on stage do an excellent job of suspending our disbelief that it really is ‘The Beatles’ taking us through the journey of their magnificent and unparalleled pop career that shaped Rock and Roll.
John Lennon’s solo album ‘Imagine’ released in 1971 went to No 1 worldwide, and as the show finished tonight I was left wondering, if Lennon were still alive, what would he make of the world today, and what would he be writing about!!?
Let It Be Review by Joanna Forest @joannaforest
Content updated December 2013