Theatre Review: Let it Be - King's Theatre, Glasgow ✭✭✭✭✭

Review by Sharman Prince

Confession: I don't own a single album by The Beatles. As a music lover this may seem something of a sin but I do enjoy their music and Let It Be is a powerful and exciting reminder of the magic and wonder that The Beatles created.

Actually it should be noted here that there is no actual reference to the title "The Beatles" or even the band members' names in the show. Instead we see Let It Be emblazoned throughout on marquees, newspapers, television programmes and announcements and this is clearly the name of the"band" featured in this show. But despite these omissions other references, including visuals and album titles, are clearly in relation to the actual "Beatles".

The premise of the production is that the audience are witnessing several concert performances from across the career of the band with the evening beginning in "The Cavern" and progressing through an appearance on the "Royal Variety Show" to the latter years of the band's career. Throughout the evening the music progresses as the band evolves creating, for myself, a latter half that is the most musically exciting and varied. 

And there is a lot of music. Indeed there is very little dialogue save the odd moment where a band member may introduce a number or interact with the audience. This is no Mamma Mia or We Will Rock You with songs interpolating a plot; rather this is a rock concert of top quality bursting with song after song. The only reprieve for the musicians is when television sets above the stage occasionally show us images of the time period whilst the cast are heard reading quotes from The Beatles themselves.

The use of costume, lighting, sound, set, video and projection elevate the production from a mere tribute act into something that is as great as an actual rock concert. Credit to the producers, creatives and performers of Let It Be that they are able to capture the spirit of The Beatles and are able to create the atmosphere of a small venue one moment and a huge stadium the next.

Band members Ben Cullingworth, James FoxMichael Gagliano and Paul Mannion supported by Steve Geere on keyboards are talented performers in every sense and it is jarring to think that they are not actually performing as themselves but as characters taking on the mantle, attitude and even the accents of the original "Fab Four" whilst performing a huge arrange of songs in the Beatles' original style. Their energy seems limitless and transfers in abundance to the audience who eagerly take it all in.

It is a complete production, if not quite a true theatrical one, and had the audience on their feet several times throughout the show but, ultimately, it is about the music and the company do it more than justice, exhibiting how incredible live performance can actually be. One cannot fail to be entertained by such a production in which all involved seem to be having such a great time.

Oh, and I may have to pick up a Beatle album or two.

Let it Be is at the King's Theatre until Saturday 3rd May