Theatre review: Let it Be, Glasgow

OF ALL the jukebox musicals, Let It Be has a strong claim to being the most straightforwardly enjoyable. Forty-two of The Beatles’ most popular songs doesn’t begin to cover the breadth of their output or massive cultural importance.

Let It Be. Picture: Contributed

Let it be - King’s Theatre, Glasgow

Star rating - ***

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But given the riches available, this production shrewdly ploughs through the hits in more or less chronological order, with slick, well-produced, but flimsy window dressing around the band’s familiar rise to fame.

It’s a sanitised account that moves smoothly from the Cavern Club through Shea Stadium to Abbey Road, with no mention of Pete Best, Stuart Sutcliffe, Hamburg or creative tensions, and there’s only the mildest inference amidst the Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds visuals that the Fab Four might ever have dabbled with drugs.

Hearing John extol those in the expensive seats to “rattle their jewellery” is a weird moment of satire repackaged as nostalgia. But Reuven Gershon as Lennon is particularly adept at the mimicry, capering goofily in the background whenever the spotlight is elsewhere.

At various times beneath the mop tops and Sergeant Pepper’s uniforms, he and Stephen Hill as George are virtually indistinguishable from their inspirations, and the latter acquits himself wonderfully on the Eric Clapton solo of While My Guitar Gently Weeps. Nevertheless, despite a rollicking Twist and Shout and suitably enigmatic Norwegian Wood, the standout moments belong to Emanuele Angeletti as Paul, driving a brilliant Back In The USSR and predictably closing on an extended Hey Jude, the audience rising from their seats as if it was The Last Night of the Proms.

Seen on 28.04.14