Let It Be, Kings Theatre, Southsea, until Saturday, April 27.
Dragging The Beatles into “concert that never was” territory could have been unbearably naff. At the very least, it was a risk.
But it’s a challenge the company rose to admirably on a great night in Portsmouth.
Let It Be, essentially The Beatles in concert through their various guises and garbs, is more usually a leisurely trip of two halves through the Fab Four’s astounding back catalogue.
But in its new incarnation, Let It Be romps through the together days in the first half before returning after the interval for the reunion that never happened – the Beatles back together again after ten years of solo-dom to celebrate John Lennon’s 40th birthday on 9 October 1980 (so tragically just a few weeks before he was killed).
The result is a second half which most definitely adds something new, which comes with a glorious unpredictability (you just haven’t got a clue what’s coming next) but which importantly comes as a thoroughly enjoyable reminder that the story really didn’t stop when The Beatles went their separate ways.
OK, it’s probably best not to think about circumstances in which Lennon could possibly ever have agreed to strum along to Jet or Band on the Run; but there’s something remarkably appealing about hearing what Starting Over and Watching The Wheels could have sounded like if Lennon had ever had the chance to deliver them on stage.
But maybe best of all, the second half corrects the imbalance of a first half which was bizarrely under-Georged. You could have walked away imagining Harrison contributed virtually nothing to The Beatles.
Instead for some reason, it’s all been held back for the second half when John Brosnan as Harrison pretty much steals the show. Here Comes The Sun and My Sweet Lord are beautifully done; his While My Guitar is absolutely mesmerising. You long for it to go on forever.
Brosnan also has the huge merit of sounding most naturally like the Beatle he is supposed to be. His intonations on the Harrison classics are uncannily spot on.
Elsewhere Emanuele Angeletti is an engaging Paul McCartney; all the tics and mannerisms are there, without being over-played; and vocally he’s more than close enough to Macca.
Only Richard Jordan as John Lennon you sometimes feel doesn’t sound quite Lennon-ish enough, for all he’s clearly a fine singer. He’s also been handed a particularly duff set of wigs which definitely need revisiting.
Completing the picture, the show’s musical director Michael Bramwell completely dazzles on keyboards.
A fine night… and one that really works, even if a Beatles reunion was never something Lennon, even at his most benevolent, would ever have wanted to Imagine.