GIG: Let It Be
DATE: Saturday 13th October 2012
VENUE: Prince Of Wales Theatre, Coventry Street, London
COST: £60 (plus really extortionate booking fees £17)
OUR VERDICT: Could have seen the same show for a tiny fraction of the price
The Prince of Wales Theatre, at one end of London’s Leicester Square is a really comfortable theatre. The seats are soft and have plenty of leg room compared with many other London theatres.
We were in the third row for the Saturday matinee and on either side of the stage were a large radio and large TV mocked up in 60’s style. As the theatre started to fill, the TV screens flashed up a series of Beatles questions with multiple choice answers for the audience to test their Beatles knowledge. This should have been taken as the first sign of the “cheap” production to come, as there were spelling mistakes (feaures, instead of feature for example). The questions were fairly easy to guess - Minty, not being a Beatles fan got the majority of them just through a bit of common sense! During the show, the screens were used to “broadcast” the actual performance in an authentic black and white 60’s hue, changing to colour as the later part of the decade kicked in. Rather annoyingly, the “broadcast” had about a 2 second time delay so the film did not match with what you were actually hearing.
The first half took us from the early days at The Cavern (no sign of the Germany era) through to Sgt Peppers time, and the second half from the Magical Mystical Tour to Abbey Road. Whilst the band were OK, they were supported in the second half of the show by a keyboard player to generate the majority of the instruments needed (strings, brass etc).
Be warned though, this is NOT a theatre show. It is just a straight forward tribute band trawling through a selection of the Beatles back catalogue in (near) chronological order, with changes of costumes. They may have dressed like the Beatles, albeit with very bad stick-on moustaches in the second half, but the only one who truly resembled their Beatles counterpart throughout the entire show was George Harrison. That being said we could not really see Ringo until the end when he ventured from behind the drum kit!
There was nothing wrong with the band themselves – they played and sang well enough, but considering all the audience got was a basic tribute band with no dialogue, no story, no ad-libs and not much inter-action with the audience (limited to asking us to clap along or stand up) it was really quite appalling.
The one bit that worked well was an acoustic section that finished with George's acoustic "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" Anthology version. But even this version was a bit wasted as it changed half-way to the electric version. There was a great opportunity to really rock out here, but a rather insipid, 'going through the motions' lead, put paid to that idea!
West End prices for what you can see in a pub for ten quid is not on. It's going to catch a lot of unsuspecting tourist out we reckon. Our tickets were bought before the show started it's run. If we'd seen any of the reviews beforehand we'd definitely have skipped this one.
The real shame is that the band are fine, it's just that this is a very bad idea for a London West End theatre show. The tickets cost as much as a Paul McCartney gig!
We'd have been better going to see Jersey Boys.
|Backdrop to the stage at the end|
|The end of the show|