This new show features over 50 Lennon & McCartney songs that are performed with high energy from a talented young company. This is not a musical, nor is it a tribute show. It is instead a platform in which these great songs can be enjoyed with some surrealism.
Jon Miller and Pete Brooks, who devised the show, say they were “aiming for something like a video album of songs, linked but independently staged. A series of music videos for the stage held together by the theme of love”. Well, they have succeeded, as this is what you get, although the choreography and set designs could have been more inventive.
The songs have been integrated thoughtfully and many have had some ‘imaginative’ new arrangements, some good, some not so good. I particularly liked the new arrangement of “A Hard Days Night”, which is intelligently combined with a sultry scene. This however, was one of only a few times where the songs were complimented with an inventive scene, as most were cheesy and old hat!! Nevertheless, the magic of the show is the songs and I for one had forgotten just how good they are.
If this had been a musical then we would not have had so many of these great songs, and if it was a tribute show then one would probably have got tired comparing the performers to the Beatles. But performed in this fashion, with quick interlinked songs with several new arrangements we are treated to a fast paced show.
The cast of 12 perform with lots of enthusiasm and professionalism, and most have good solid voices. Linda John-Pierre is particularly outstanding in possession of an incredible voice and presence. Neal Wright, who has recently starred in “Mamma Mia!” also has immense talent along with a cheeky disposition.
As expected before it even opened, the show has received a bashing from the popular press…. Rachel Halliburton for THE EVENING STANDARD hated the show saying “A production which brings to mind first a record-shop bargain bucket and then a vomit bucket: misconceived, sentimental, and badly designed, it is the worst of the entertainment genre best described as coach-party fodder.” NICK HASTED for THE INDEPENDENT was not too hard on the show, but he was still not impressed saying, “The first half is like a cross between a Cliff Richard movie and a kitchen-sink drama.” MADDY COSTA for THE GUARDIAN describes the show as “The Beatles' tragical mystery tour.” She goes on to say it is “infuriating and prodigiously dull”. MADELEINE NORTH for TIME OUT says, "This show does its level best to induce a collective starte of ennui."
It goes without saying that if you are not fond of Lennon & McCartney’s music then this show is not for you. I like the Beatles and I liked this show for its bold new arrangements, although some Beatle’s purists may have an Heart Attack! It has no story, but it has great songs that come together in a great evenings entertainment. You will either loathe it or love it !!