The production of the Beatles concert revue Let it Be has many things to recommend it with the primary one being the attention to detail given.
Above the stage set are two television screens, playing a selection of adverts and musical numbers which capture the ‘60s and add to the authenticity of the show. These are also used to fill us in on the different eras of the band’s career. The show’s first half begins with the famous Royal Command Performance – complete with quotes directly from the show, including John Lennon’s famous line “Could those of you in the cheaper seats please clap your hands, and the rest of you rattle your jewellery.” This is followed by a Shea Stadium recreation, the Sgt Pepper years, and finally the Abbey Road / rooftop concert era, before the first half concludes.
So far, so good. Part two consists of a hypothetical reunion of the band, involving a time jump to 9th of October 1980 – John Lennon’s 40th birthday. The members treat us to prime cuts of each of their solo careers, including Lennon’s Imagine, Harrison’s My Sweet Lord, McCartney’s Band on the Run and Starr’s It Don’t Come Easy. These are balanced by some of the band’s numbers that they never played live as a group. It is a sensitively handled and fully believable experience, which in the wrong hands could so easily have gone the other way.
Many things are to be commended here, beginning with the performances of the individual actors playing each of the Beatles. They manage to bring the band’s trademark humour to the sets along with their authentic sound and image, right down to the individual instruments they play – there’s even a replica of George Harrison’s ‘Rocky’ Fender Stratocaster, among others. The only noticeable anachronism was the inclusion of Harrison’s cover of Got My Mind Set On You. He didn’t record and release this until 1987, seven years after the tribute concert is meant to be set). But it sounds so good you can forgive them.
Let it Be is a truly essential production for any Beatles fan. The painstaking recreation of the band’s sound and image through the years makes for an unforgettable and poignant tribute, both to what was and what could have been.
Let it Be runs at His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen, until the 18th May 2019. For further dates and locations, please click here.