A celebration of the music of The Beatles comes to Edinburgh in this nostalgic and bold live show.
It’s over fifty years since The Beatles captured the adoring attention of the world, and Let It Be provides a unique opportunity for fans who were there at the beginning to indulge in a nostalgic trip down memory lane, whilst offering new fans a taste of music history.
Four televisions at the front of the stage offered something of a narrative on the Fab Four’s rise to stardom and subsequent Beatlemania, displaying hordes of screaming fans, clips of the band and at one point, a run of hilarious television adverts from the time – as much storytelling as there was time for, in this forty-strong run of hits. But it didn’t feel as if the show was lacking, rather it was as close as one could get now to seeing The Beatles in concert.
Things kicked off with the boys their identical suits with signature bowl-cuts performing She Loves You on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1963, expertly delivered by the cast. Emanuele Angeletti, who plays McCartney, gave a moving rendition of Yesterday with excellent precision. A quick change later and we were miraculously transported to the centre of the Shea stadium in New York City in 1965, and almost as deafened as the band would have been, with the speakers blaring at top volume the screaming of fifty-five thousand ecstatic fans.
When the four trooped out in their Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band outfits, they commanded the stage with the easy confidence of a band well-settled into the business of being world-famous. They proved their salt as musicians as well as performers in this trippy, kaleidoscopic but tight rendition of songs like Come Together and Strawberry Fields Forever.
For the second act, the production rather boldly went where one hasn’t gone before: to an imagined reunion of the band in 1980. The wigs and beard-pieces really helped the imagination in getting there, not to mention the uncanny performance given by the cast, in particular Michael Gagliano who had John Lennon’s voice and mannerisms pinned. John Bronsan, who plays George Harrison, offered up an injection of humour with his sharp one-liners, and he too was uncanny in his delivery of Got My Mind Set On You, Here Comes The Sun and While My Guitar Gently Weeps.
Let It Be and Hey Jude had the night finishing on a high-point with the crowd on their feet, albeit to the fervent prompting of the cast. So, if you’re looking to remember this legendary band, or to discover their music for the first time, Let It Be is as good a way as any, to do just that. A fun and energetic performance from all the cast, it almost had me believing.
Photos courtesy of Anthony Robling
Let It Be runs until Saturday 13th October at Edinburgh Playhouse.