The Songs of Lennon & McCarthy was bound to be a hit from the start. The house was full, which was not surprising considering the longevity and age appeal of Lennon & McCarthy. With a catalogue of some 120 Beatles song to work with, Musical Director Drew Downing had his work cut out for him. The song choices and order simply highlighted Downing’s genius, along with a good mix which highlighted the best of Lennon and MCartney’s songwriting talents.
Chapel off Chapel is a small intimate theatre which lends itself very well to this style of performance. The stage was set with a band of drums, guitars, bass and saxophone, and on the floor was the piano.
Four guys and four girls made up the full ensemble, which took you on a fantastic journey of the songs of Lennon & McCarthy, with emotional highs and lows, as they beautifully did justice to each song.
While some of the songs were performed traditionally, others were presented in various styles and each style fitted the song. The lyrics remained true with the meanings behind the song making sense. I was impressed with the duets.
The highlight for me was the duet with Vidya Makan and Ana Mitsikas on the piano. It was four hands and two voices, all blended together. Bram Harris and Tyson Legg also performed a superb duet – their voices blended so well I had to look twice before realising it was a duet. Jess Fairlie held the audience with her acting and solo performances. Jack Lyall, while being the youngest, presented a powerful performance, including some tricky numbers. Adam Perryman and Luisa Scrofani both provided the completion of a very strong cast of accomplished performers.
Another aspect which I found extremely good was the clear diction of all the singers, the sound levels and balance between musicians and singers made the evening so much enjoyable.
The lighting and set are minimal, which was fine as there was no distraction from the music and the songs. I found the handling of the microphone stands a bit off putting, considering they are all radio microphones. Likewise there could be a bit more tidying up with the choreography in a couple of instances.
The audience was made up of all ages and everyone was engaged with the songs. With the music of Lennon and McCarthy executed is such a respectful way, it was no surprise there was a standing ovation.
Let It Be the Songs of Lennon & McCartney is showing at the Chapel off Chapel on the 29th April.