Let It Be
Wales Millennium Centre, Wales
Seen August 21st, 2018
Reviewed by Jade Prince
Right off the bat, I wasn’t too sure on the show however the second act won me over. Having had time to digest it all, there is still one element of the show that has me umming and ahhing. I will discuss this later on in the review but there will be a completely different post focusing on this practice in the theatre world in general.
‘Let It Be’ has been on a hiatus recently but has come back new and improved. It was perviously known and loved not only in the West End but also on tour up and down the UK. It takes you on a journey witnessing The Beatles’ rise to fame and then the years when they went separate ways. This Let It Be: Part 2 even gives you prime access to the concert that never was. One night and one night only to see the legends, John, Paul, George and Ringo on stage giving it large!
Confession: I never saw the previous tour of Let It Be so there will be no comparison.
I went into the show expecting something very similar to Jersey Boys or Mamma Mia. An actual retelling of the development of The Beatles. It was a shock when I realised this wasn’t happening. Instead the show falls into the category of a documentary. The narration carried it as The Beatles music plays out. It really was a glorified tribute act.
The first act was a little slow. Now, this may be because I am a little baby. This ginger was born in 1996 so, unfortunately, I never got to experience Beatlemania and my knowledge of their music consists of their biggest hits. A lot of the songs in the first act were from their early days, as you’d expect, start from the beginning. It wasn’t until the second act where I started to get into it. There were more songs I recognised and I started enjoying the presentation of the show.
The set was very minimal. The drums in the middle of the stage with the other band members close by. A very standard Beatles set up. This was all kept really simple but with the addition of a couple of props and help from the backdrop screen, it was noticeably clear when the ‘concert ‘changed. It was simple but effective. The backdrop was a screen displaying the different scenes or media for each number. Around the sides of the stage were 4 smaller screens in a retro TV frame. These were a really nice addition. The projections from the back wall were displayed on these but they were also used during the narration sequences. The vintage adverts were great to watch. I just wish that when the live performance was shown on the screen in real-time, that the images were distressed a little to be more in keeping with the appearance of the TV frames. It was a little weird-looking up and seeing high-definition images on a supposedly old TV.
The cast was great and you could tell that a lot of time had been put in on their side to get the mannerisms of their character down to a ‘T’. Emanuele Angeletti (Paul McCartney), John Brosnan (George Harrison), Ben Cullingworth (Ringo Starr) and Michael Gagliano (John Lennon) were great together and really looked and sounded the part. Although they were obviously forming a band, they all had their time to shine in the second act when a few solo songs came up.
Now we come onto the part that still has me torn. The encouragement of the use of cameras during the show. You are allowed to take photos and videos on any date of this tour, this wasn’t just reserved for the press night. In a way it is great for the show. It is free publicity and gives more of a concert feel however, as an audience member, it can be incredibly distracting. You had flashes going of, the glow of screens throughout the auditorium. I think what took the biscuit the most was the fact that people took this as an invite to use their phone for other reasons during the show. My biggest issue is that people were no longer living in the moment. I am very traditional with my beliefs that in the theatre you should appreciate every single moment because the cast and crew are giving their everything to bring that show together. I have a more detailed blog on my thought and opinions on this aspect of theatre, this will be coming soon.
Overall, I found this to be a rather enjoyable show. Leave everything you know about the standard ‘jukebox musical’ behind you. Definitely see this if you want a night of basking in the very best that the Beatles had to offer!
‘Let It Be’ is continuing its tour across the UK until the end of October. For more information on tickets and venues, head to http://letitbelive.com/united-kingdom-tour-dates/.