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    THE CAST OF LET IT BE

    PHOTOGRAPH (C) ANTHONY ROBLING

     

    “Keep dreaming Liverpool - peace and love”

     

    Cheers and applause echoed through the Liverpool Empire Theatre as the cast bowed following a beautiful performance of ‘Imagine’. Moving into upbeat renditions of ‘Long Tall Sally’ and Bond Classic ‘Live and Let Die’, there is no doubt that what we are watching tonight is spectacular.

     

    This is Let it Be - and this is one of the must see shows of the year.

     

    Having first seen the production in 2014, I always thought that the original show was brilliant and that it couldn’t get any better - then it did.

     

    Revised and updated, the original Let it Be show is now condensed into the first act, with the audience invited to imagine a reunion of the Beatles for John Lennon’s 40th birthday in October 1980.

     

    Opening with the iconic Royal Variety performance (hand clapping and jewellery rattling included), the energy of ‘I saw her standing there’ immediately made you feel as if you were back in the 60’s, watching the Beatles perform. A few songs in and my friend exclaimed “It’s like we’re actually there”.

     

    And that is the joy of Let it Be. As an audience member, you are involved from the moment the curtain is raised and invited along on this magical mystery tour of music. Whether it is singing along to ‘Blackbird’ or being asked to get on your feet for ‘Twist and Shout’, it is a non-stop journey of timeless music, performed by a cast that are incredible from the very first song to the last.

     

    The attention to detail is an important element of the show; from the classic adverts playing on the tv screens around the stage, to the nods and gestures to the audience from the cast.

     

    MICHAEL GAGLIANO AS JOHN LENNON

    PHOTOGRAPH (C) ANTHONY ROBLING

     

    When Shea Stadium was created, the reverberating sound against a backdrop of screaming fans captured the heights of Beatlemania at that moment. From the technicolour of Sgt.Pepper to an excellent rooftop projection during songs including ‘’Get Back’ and ‘Revolution’, the entire show is well-crafted, superbly structured and highly enjoyable.

     

    It is the second act however where the show came into its own. Though the first act had many wonderful moments, such as the choreography during ‘When I’m 64’, the cast left me in complete awe during the second half of Let it Be.

     

    Ben Cullingworth’s percussion throughout the show was excellent; his performance of ‘It don’t come easy’ an example of this cast’s brilliant multi-talented musicianship. Alongside him was Musical Director Michael Bramwell, whose piano instrumental in the second half not only seamlessly transitioned one part of the second act into another, but was also beautifully performed.

     

    Watching the show, the cast are as close to The Beatles as you could possibly get. Their physicality, vocals and the way they play the instruments shows the amazing dedication that the cast have to their performances. During the first act, even the detail of Angeletti wearing no shoes, like McCartney in the iconic Abbey Road photograph, shows the attention that has been paid when recreating the performances onstage.

     

    Michael Gagliano had an excellent rapport with the audience throughout Let it Be, which provided much humour and helped you feel a part of the performances throughout the show. His vocals both when speaking and singing capture John Lennon’s voice perfectly with every single vocal tone. When the bells of ‘Starting over’ rang around the theatre, Gagliano’s voice soured straight into my heart as he performed a stellar rendition of the song and one of my favourite John Lennon records!

     

    Not only an exceptionally talented bass player, Emanuele Angeletti’s vocals were phenomenal and powerful. During songs such as ‘Jet’ or ‘Band on the Run’, you would think that the actual Paul McCartney was onstage performing. He is one of the best, if not the best, musicians I have ever seen perform as McCartney; the emotion that radiated throughout his performance of ‘Yesterday’ in Act One highlighting his amazing vocal talent.

     

    It is John Brosnan as George Harrison however that left me in awe and completely speechless, especially with that guitar solo. Originally performed by Eric Clapton, Brosnan played the guitar solo from ‘While my guitar gently weeps’ - and it was flawless. Though I would have loved to have heard more songs performed by Brosnan's Harrison in the first act (it’ll always be a dream of mine to hear ‘I’m happy just to dance with you’ during Let it Be!), the second half brought the audience to their feet during ‘Got my mind set on you’. I couldn’t stop smiling as Brosnan led the crowd in this amazing sing-along and his performance was brilliant from start to finish.

     

    All that’s left to say (or indeed sing!) is Let it Be - we love you, yeah, yeah, yeah!

     

    5 stars

     

    By Sarah O'Hara 

     

     Let it Be is at the Liverpool Empire Theatre until Saturday 8th September 2018.

     

     

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