Let It Be review - July 2014
As close to a Beatles gig that we will ever getWhilst I wouldn’t proclaim to be the Beatles biggest and best fan in the entire world, I am certainly pretty down with their music. I love a cheeky bit of “Hard Days Night,” “She Loves You,” and “Back In The USSR” amongst many others and who doesn’t really! As an open minded theatregoer I wouldn’t have been so cautious of Let It Be If I hadn’t have seen the somewhat hateful Thriller: Live!, which for me just seemed like everything that is wrong with commercial “theatre.” Luckily everything Thriller: Live! did wrong for me was done so so right with Let It Be.
Once you do away with the idea that Let It Be is going to be a traditional “musical” in terms of a dramatic narrative and any kind of engaging plot, then you are free to enjoy this show. It is NOT a musical, it is a well performed concert by a very accomplished Beatles tribute band. Let It Be is as close to a Beatles gig you will ever get and it is pretty great.
I tell a small lie when I say the show has no narrative in that it sort of has a timeline; the show opens when the band are playing Liverpool’s intimate Cavern Club and progresses to landmark shows such as The 1963 Royal Variety Performance, their set at the Shea Stadium in 1966 through to performances from the Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Bandand Abbey Road albums, ending on a crowd pleasing "Hey Jude." The band do their best to emulate the personalities of the fab four and even go as far as to use famous quotes from the band in their dialogue. The casting is aesthetically viable, but Liverpudlian accents prove tricky to emulate…
The show ranges between infectiously energetic (yep, I have to admit I was up on my feet giving it the old dance!) and soft and heartfelt. It hits the right spots and never generates the cringey kind of X factor final vibe of Thriller Live! Let It Be is the Beatles concert you always dreamed of; a relatively intimate gig in a beautiful venue with two hours of uninterrupted (except by an interval…but who cares when there is ice cream and wine on sale) music from talented musicians which showcases the bands best loved hits. Fabulous!
Great music aside, the show also has some great historical sound and video bites, which if you are interested in the history and fandom of the band, is very interesting!
Overall I left the theatre feeling jolly, my thirst for Beatles tunes thoroughly quenched. Let It Be does what it says on the tin and avoids falling into cringey territory. For me that makes the show a real success.
30 July 2014, Garrick Theatre