Billed as a celebration of the legacy of the worlds greatest rock n’ roll band, Let it Be does not mislead the viewer into thinking they are going to view a biopic of the meteoric rise to fame, achievements and ultimate friction led break up of a band who changed the sound of pop music.
Don’t expect the politics behind the music nor John’s tragic death. The format is more akin to a concert with biographical elements than a musical, but what it does offer is the opportunity to be transported by a musical time machine to witness a Beatles concert as we jump from era to era witnessing the changing clothes, hairstyles and musical differences and a sense of what it might have been like to see the group live, feel the atmosphere and enjoy music in the company of a mass of people who share the same enthusiasm for the songs
Whilst it is a celebration, the show goes far beyond being another tribute act. It’s slick production and attention to detail set it apart from lesser attempts to recreate the Fab Four. While clearly talented musicians, what’s clear is that these performers also clearly love the musicians they’re playing, and the attention to detail does not go unnoticed.
The way in which they have each captured the mannerisms, afflictions and general persona of the artist has likely come from a passion for the Beatles or hours of studying archive footage.
There are small things such as quoting casual lines from performances and concerts but also mimicking movements and facial expression. Fair enough, it’s the second time I’ve seen the show but that also gives the opportunity to pick up on those nuances that go beyond their unmistakable sound.
What’s also great is that despite this level of accuracy, you still get a sense that the performers genuinely love what they do and appear to enjoy the show rather than going through the motions.
Michael Gagliano is easily the best Lennon I’ve seen. A true showman, he leads the production in true cheeky and fun Lennon style, supported by Emanuele Angeletti as an impressive Paul. They are backed up by Josh Brosnan as the excellent shy understated George who also has his moments in the spotlight including the beautiful Here Comes the Sun. Ben Cullingworth has the least to work with but still makes an impression as Ringo.
Small TV monitors show original footage to lead you through the groups musical journey rather than there being narration or acting out scenarios. Sets are interspersed with music and advertisements of the day, giving the lads chance to change in to the next lot of outfits, moving the ‘story’ along.
Split into two parts: Act 1 portrays some of the highlights of the band’s career, while Act 2 cleverly looks at the concert that never was – what if the band had reunited in 1980 for John’s 40th birthday.
I’m not a fan of their earlier work, for me I prefer the odd brilliance of Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band and The White album, so for me, the production gets stronger as it goes on, with the second half giving each the chance to shine on the artists individual projects, Paul’s Band on the Run, George’s ‘Got My Mind Set On You’ Ringo’s ‘It Don’t Come Easy’ and of course the showstopper, John’s Imagine.
We end with a soaring version of While My Guitar Gently Weeps with the lads returning for the encore which the audience wouldn’t have let them go without.
It’s not an easy task recreating the sound of an iconic band, fortunately these chaps nail it with brilliance.
By Tanya Louise
Disclaimer: My tickets were complimentary but my views are my own
Let It Be is on at The Royal Concert Hall Nottingham until 15 September 2018