Review: Let It Be, Edinburgh Playhouse

It may be 48 years since the Beatles officially split but for one night you can party with the Fab Four in Let It Be the musical.

The acclaimed West End production returned to Edinburgh Playhouse last night to pay homage to one of the most influential bands in the world, the Beatles.

The show follows the band’s journey from one of their early performances at the Royal Variety Show in front of the Queen Mother to their groundbreaking US tour in 1965 and beyond into psychedelia and then their eventual break up in 1970.

Despite it loosely telling the story of the Beatles through a chronological order of their biggest hits, Let It Be is a jukebox musical with little dialogue and not much else of a story. It is jam packed with covers though and includes no less than 38 Beatles songs that every fan will be able to sing along to. The show covers all the big hits like I Wanna Hold Your Hand, She Loves You, Penny Lane, Strawberry Fields Forever, When I’m 64, Here Comes The Sun and Hey Jude, with audience members encouraged to sing and dance along at any opportunity.

Although it might not be the original line up, Let It Be’s Fab Four don’t hold back in their performance either and there’s no denying Emanuele Angeletti (Paul McCartney), John Brosnan (George Harrison), Ben Cullingworth (Ringo Starr) and Michael Gagliano (John Lennon) all deliver an energetic, fun and passionate performance throughout – albeit with a dodgy Scouse accent or two thrown into the mix for good measure.

Disappointingly though the musical actually includes no live orchestra. The show comprises of just the four Beatles and a single accompanying musician providing all the orchestration from a keyboard. This wouldn’t have been particularly noteworthy if Let It Be was just another amateur tribute band, but for a world renowned West End production the audience deserves more of a live music spectacle, which would also more likely reflect ticket prices.

Production wise, it is pretty basic too. There is effectively no set, just the band set up, and the show relies heavily on graphics projected onto the main screen behind the musicians. Four large television screens are also placed around the stage to try and bring some context to the show by playing adverts and footage from the 60s but again, this doesn’t really go far enough to transport the audience into the swinging sixties.

So if you want a real trip on the Magical Mystery Tour then Let It Be might not be for you – but if you’re up for a bit of light hearted Beatlemania and a sing and a dance then this show can’t really go wrong.

Let It Be is on at the Edinburgh Playhouse until 22 October

Words: Aimee Stanton

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