Review: Let It Be @ New Theatre
The Beatles need very little introduction. Few would disagree that they are the peak in Western popular culture. Their stamp on music is still evident today, with so many artists taking inspiration from them.
These jukebox musicals and these glam concert shows certainly make big bucks. However, are audiences being pandered into things they already know and like, never crossing the threshold of new and exciting territories in music and theatre? This seems to be a concern in theatre now. With We Will Rock You closing after a twelve-year run in the West End, perhaps it's time we seek a new form of music theatre that isn't just a cash cow, or a rehash of memory lane.
Rant aside, this is a fairly enjoyable evening. Most of their songs are absolute gems, with unmistakable melodies, immensely catchy lyrics and true poetic artistry (Eleanor Rigby a highlight). For my generation (90's kids), this is the closest we could ever get to see the real deal in concert. After all, they did stop live concerts during the mid-60's, so that must have broken a lot of people's hearts!
Watching the band's progression in time, you see the extensive mutations and modifications in their songs, delivery, attire, set pieces and anything else they could alter. How thrilling it was to see the curtain rise once more and to have them in the Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Heart Club attire. I will admit, heaps of songs were heard, but not doing Yellow Submarine was a great shame and lost the audience a jolly participation skit (we had a few either way). I am the Walrus was also overlooked, but with forty songs to go through in this show, not everything can be heard.
The cast were highly effective, with each band member looking and acting like how John, Paul, George and Ringo did sing, act and talk. Large television screens were at times a distraction from the focus. Filmed live, the band had a retro feel on slightly grainy and sometimes black and white monitors. During the scene changes, cringe-worthy adverts from the 60's came on, not really having a purpose, other than to contribute to a evening stacked with nostalgia for most anyway.
What made The Beatles so special was their striking originality. The echoes of this are still heard now.
So *queue naff song-related joke* book a Ticket to Ride, Get Back and make a Magical Mystery Tour to the New this week. That's the best I could come up with...
Photo Credits: Promotional Photos