It sounds like watching Cirque Du Soleil interpret the music of The Beatles might be dangerous, but it is the performers who are defying death.
We had restricted view seats, as that was all that were left and when we sat down we faced the side of a huge screen curtain. There were four such curtains that effectively quartered the stage, just as the audience were in quarters around the stage – the spectacle must be able to be viewed from all angles, so our hopes were raised a little. Besides, when booking the tickets we at least knew the music would be good – that was guaranteed.
The lights lowered and some spoken words from each Beatle edited together slowly built into an introduction. Then, just as the drum solo (Ringo’s only drum solo for The Beatles) from Golden Slumbers kicks in, the huge curtains drop and from that point on, not only do we have a great view of what is going on, we couldn’t take our eyes off it!
The music fits well with the performance or vice versa. I have the album and I didn’t really take a shine to it, as it felt strange to hear the songs segue together and also to hear a bit of a song rather than the whole thing. However, I shall revisit it after seeing this show.
The performance is amazing from start to finish. Performers descend from the heavens, rise from the basement, slide in through the air from right above our heads, wheel in on a VW Beetle (the reg is that from the Abbey Road album cover) and so many more stage entrances and exits. All of the performers are aided by props and costumes that seem to fit the bill just right: quirky and definitely circus, but inkeeping with the music.
At times, I was drawn into the music – attempting to identify snippets or happily foot tapping along.
At times, the music faded and I was drawn into the light display, the big screens and the overall look of the auditorium.
At times, I was watching individual performers and their gracefulness as well as the amount of effort and hard work they were really putting in.
At times, I was mesmerized by the stunts being performed – there were moments when it really did look dangerous, but the stunts were carried off with precision.
There does seem to be a storyline throughout the show. It’s a little confusing, but I think it follows along the lines of Britain following World War 2 and how it blossoms into a generation of love and peace.
There are clowns of sorts. Four fellas, I presumed to be artistic representations of The Beatles, but I could be wrong, with Ringo by far the most prominent as he attempts to hand flowers to any woman near him. There are other characters that come and go: a (sort of) narrator come ring master and a priest, who doesn’t seem to say anything and acts like Christopher Lloyd in Taxi, to describe but two.
The technical precision that takes place between performers, props, stunts, lights and music are astounding. I gazed around and the entire audience looked awestruck.
To say it’s all very trippy does not really carry the weight with which it all forms stunning scenes throughout.
I really can’t recommend this highly enough – if you like The Beatles, you’ll love it, even if circuses are not your thing, as this is a far cry from Billy Smart’s!