Flying Entertainment, the producers of All you need is love , are building a portfolio of tribute shows building on the success of their West End hit, Thriller (now in its 10th year) and this latest addition combines the musical talents of some of the West End cast of Let it be with the National Philharmonic Concert Orchestra to produce the concert that never happened with the Beatles performing many songs that they never sang on stage together. In all they present nearly forty songs from the extensive and varied Beatles catalogue over the two hour show.
This is a celebration of the Beatles songs and the focus is on the music with the orchestra enhancing the sound of the Fab Four. In Cadogan Hall, the fifth show of the current ten venue tour, the set, animated graphics on the large screen and colour washes of moving lights were disappointing and well short of the publicity blurb description of a spectacular multi media concert. Only occasionally do the graphics add something as in the sixties street scene projected behind "the long and winding road'. But in the end it does not matter as the music is enough and when the full orchestra backs the boys it is a wonderful rich well balanced sound.
The performers present a passing resemblance to the original stars with the help of a variety of wigs, occasional moustaches and studied mannerisms but they capture the Liverpudlian roots of the the sound with each getting at least a couple of turns on lead vocals.
Emanuele Angeletti as Paul McCartney sings an excellent solo acoustic guitar "Yesterday" and then at the piano "Let it be". Paul Canning captures the nasal sound of John Lennon and is at his best in "Lucy in the sky with diamonds" with a full orchestra backing and then in "Come Together". John Brosnan as George Harrison leads in "Something in the way she moves ". Luke Roberts as Ringo Starr gets to lead on "I get by with a little help from my friends".
Conductor Martin Herman, with the longest hair of them all, and his orchestra clearly love the experience and when not playing clap , sway and sing as enthusiastically as the paying audience. The strings section adds to "Eleanor Rigby" and "Yesterday" and the trumpet solo adds to "Penny Lane" but is at its best in backing the band in songs like " Sergeant Pepper ", "Here comes the Sun" and "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da".
As in any concert the shows builds to a brilliant climax with a three song encore
of "Yellow Submarine" (Ringo), "Imagine" (John) and "Hey Jude" (Paul) which bring the crowd to their feet and swaying with the phone lights on.
A few psychedelic, melancholy and experimental songs aside, this is an enjoyable night reminding those old enough of the amazing catalogue they grew up with and introducing a new generation to the original composers of so many familiar tunes.
Review by Nick Wayne
Seat: Stalls row G | Price of ticket: £35