The ultimate juke box musical eschews the coy distraction of a storyline in favour of a back-catalogue of interminable brilliance
Unlike the juke box musicals that have raided the back catalogue of every band from Abba to the Spice Girls, the Beatles musical Let It Be eschews the coy distraction of a storyline.
(Besides we know the story, don’t we? Their story, that is. From drainpipes to flares. From three-chord rock to orchestral travelogues. From holding hands to weeping guitars.)
Instead there is the dream-ticket 40-song greatest hits concert that starts at the Cavern Club, heads over to America for Shay Stadium and Ed Sullivan and then ends in the world of fiction (for the Beatles never played their later hits live).
But, of course, it’s all fiction. The boyish banter between the lads (dress-a-likes and sound-a-likes but not look-a-likes) must be as scripted as the choreography.
That is not to say that this tribute is not an affecting and pleasurable experience. The most gratifying section is the Sgt Pepper sequence with a particularly haunting rendition of A Day In The Life (although most swooned at the sing-along Yesterday as if “they’re playing our song, dear”).
Many in the audience struggled when urged to their feet (joints these days are arthritic not rolled) and many had taken too few Sanatogen to get them to clap beyond the first bars of a song but the air was heavy with soft nostalgia which is, it seems, the simple, sweet purpose of this simple, sweet show.
No duds in the playlist – of course – and all delivered with expert musicality.
If nothing else Let It Be is a reminder of the over-abundance of creative genius among the lads from Liverpool that will have you scurrying back to source.
More Fab Four than Plastic Oh-No Band, thankfully.
Until Sept 5, Garrick Theatre WC2, £15-£67.50, letitbelive.com