It is slightly misleading to call this article a theatre review because, despite its prestigious venue, Let It Be is hardly a piece of West End theatre at all. There is no plot and, notwithstanding a few voiceovers, costume changes and sixties footage, we are ultimately witnessing a tribute band working through a series of Beatles hits one after the other.
Given such a narrow set-up, these Fab Four impersonators would really need to be up to the standard of John, Paul, George and Ringo to carry the evening off, and, though there is little to fault in their performances, they are not quite in the same league as the originals. This gig consequently suffers in the first half from everyone being in the wrong state of mind, as the rows of seats in a normal auditorium feel conducive to experiencing a more conventional show. As a result, the audience remains silent throughout Yesterday, despite Paul’s pleas to join in, and only stand at all for Twist and Shout.
The second half, however, is a different kettle of fish. Whether it is because they now know what to expect, or simply that they have loosened up with a beer during the interval, the audience feel more in tune with the atmosphere, and the performers respond by singing and playing at the top of their game. Perhaps ironically, things really come to fruition during a quieter section when John, Paul and George perform songs such as Blackbird on their guitars. The atmosphere is then sustained with a masterful rendition of While My Guitar Gently Weeps and two encores that really do get the audience rising to their feet.
Let It Be can make for a fun night out hearing top Beatles hits performed well, but don’t go in expecting to see more than a tribute act, or thinking that the atmosphere will be spot on from the start.
Booking until 19 January 2013 at the Prince of Wales Theatre, Coventry Street, with start times of 15.00, 17.00 and 19.30. For tickets (£20-£60) click here.
Londonist received a complimentary ticket and programme from The Corner Shop PR.