The last time I visited the Garrick Theatre, it was to see The Scottsboro Boys, a tragic and haunting tale of racism and injustice in 1930s America. So the other night, when I was back at the Garrick for Let It Be, the atmosphere was ever so slightly more upbeat.
It was clear from the moment we arrived that this wasn't going to be your typical night at the theatre. TV screens over the stage encouraged us to tweet, to request our favourite songs, to prepare for a night of singing and dancing and generally letting our hair down. So we did as we were told, even though it went against my every instinct to get my phone out and start taking photos. In the theatre! Scandalous.
Anyway. Let It Be isn't, as some might expect, a jukebox musical like We Will Rock You. It's not even much like Jersey Boys (Piccadilly Theatre), which is at least the story of the band. The best way I can think to describe the show is that it's what I imagine a Beatles reunion tour would be like, if such a thing were possible. It's a whistlestop tour of all the classics, from the group's early performances at the Cavern Club, through Beatlemania and beyond, to the psychedelic Sgt. Pepper days, finishing - of course - with a rousing chorus of "Hey Jude".
Aside from brief pauses for costume and wig changes, the Fab Four are on stage throughout the show (along with a shadowy figure called Phil who lurks at the back playing all the extra instruments). And they really are fab. Let It Be is essentially a Beatles tribute act - but a really good one. The band's voices are spot on, and they’ve got all the mannerisms down. They even pull off decent Scouse accents for the banter between songs, not that there’s much time for that. Let It Be is all about the music, which is as it should be. The show manages to pack in over 40 Beatles hits, and still doesn't come close to covering them all. (My friend was very disappointed that they didn't have time for his obscure song request.)
Let It Be at the Garrick Theatre isn’t your average night at the theatre, but that’s not a bad thing. Be prepared to twist and shout, scream, sway and sing along - sometimes all at the same time - on this irresistible boogie down memory lane.
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