Monday 8th September 2014
'Let it Be' (the song) was the first song I learned to play on the piano. Those four simple chords have stayed with me for years, and it was the song I'd experiment with - a cheeky 7th here, a different inversion there - in my early piano years. Call it my Starling Arts training ground, if you will.
'Let it Be' (the stage show) is an altogether different deal. Marketed as 'a theatrical concert', it's two hours of The Beatles' back catalogue performed with no storyline (beyond the band's discography/chronology), minimal dialogue, and very little theatricality. I would, perhaps more accurately, call it 'a concert in a theatre', but that's not to say I dismiss its theatrical/performance value.
The Let It Be band entertain the crowd
If you like The Beatles, and I do, then you can't help but sing and clap along, in fact it's encouraged; along with the taking of photographs, dancing in the aisles and going to the bar throughout, all of which are advertised via big TV screens throughout the auditorium which also broadcast live tweets from the audience. The problem is, I couldn't escape the fact I was in a theatre. A very 'English' theatre etiquette means I sat politely, felt guilty for snapping some photos on my phone, and when I went to the bar for a drink during the second half of the show, it was closed...
However, none of this really matters because the house was packed, the audience was on its feet and they kept screaming for encores. Singing 'Hey Jude' with a few hundred other people was a thrill. Feeling incredibly disorientated by the psychedelic lighting for 'Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds' was not.
A throw back from the Sgt. Pepper era
Just as 'Let it Be' (the song) was a training ground for me to experiment my piano, 'Let it Be' (the stage show) is a good way for me to experiment with my theatre going choices. It's not the sort of show I'd normally opt to see (I'm more of a Jule Styne than a Juke Box kind of girl), but the hundreds of people packing out the Garrick Theatre prove that there is an audience for the 'theatrical concert' format. And as the theatrical concert is, to all intents and purposes, what we produce with our three show choirs here at Starling Arts, 'Let it Be' proves that this sort of event is popular for the public. However, in the absence of a star, that is to say The Beatles themselves, two hours of their music performed by four (albeit great) tribute performers, isn't compelling enough to keep me engaged or longing for more of the same in the West End.
The show is playing at The Garrick Theatre until 20th September. Visit http://www.letitbelive.com/ for more information.
Thank you towww.officialtheatre.com @theatreofficial for the tickets.