London

The Beatles ‘Let It Be’ Show In London

The Beatles 'Let It Be' Show In London

Part of my birthday gift this year was getting to see the Beatles show, Let It Be, at the Savoy Theater in London. Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve listened to the Beatles – a musical love passed on to me via my father. In fact, whenever CDs came out (yeah, I’m old), two of the first ones I ever owned were Help! and A Hard Day’s Night. I’d learned every word to every song on those two albums by the time I was in middle school. Today, you’d be hard-pressed to pick a song out of the 224 Beatles’ songs I have stored on my computer that I couldn’t sing for you word for word, if not maybe a little out of tune. All of that to say, I was one excited girl when I found out I’d be getting to see this show!

The Beatles 'Let It Be' Show In London

The Beatles 'Let It Be' Show In London

This was my first time inside the Savoy Theatre, and I was pleasantly surprised by its small size. I much prefer smaller, more intimate venues for both plays and concerts. The Savoy offers three levels of seating – the lower stalls section that is level with the stage, the dress circle above the stalls, and then the upper circle at the top. From what I can tell, there are seats on every level that offer a good view of the stage, as long as the overhang from above is not blocking your view. We sat towards the back of the stalls level in the middle, and while there was an overhang, it never obstructed our view of any part of the show. In fact, because we were towards the back, no one sat in front of us, so we had a clear view with no heads bobbing in our line of sight.

The Beatles 'Let It Be' Show In London

As a fan, I tried to keep my expectations neutral going into this show. Save for hopping in a time machine back to 1965, I don’t expect to ever get to see the real Beatles live in concert, and I didn’t have any delusions that going to see Let It Be would make up for that, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much of the experience they were able to recreate. And all of that credit goes to the amazing performers playing John, Paul, George, and Ringo. I can’t even imagine the amount of work they’ve put in to look, play, sound, and act like the Beatles, but it has paid off in spades. Down to each of their unique mannerisms, these guys have got their predecessors down pat and it really makes the show. Their ability to stay in character made the entire experience believable instead of kitschy.

The Beatles 'Let It Be' Show In London

Let It Be is not a traditional musical. There is no plot interrupted every few minutes by a musical number. (Although I would have enjoyed seeing something like that as well.) It’s a performance concert of the Beatles’ most famous songs, arranged chronologically by period beginning with the Beatles’ pop-sound beginnings in Liverpool, and then ending with an encore performance of Let It Be and Hey Jude. It’s a treat to watch not only the sets change through every period, but also the Beatles themselves. Between each set, the actors undergo a transformation keeping their appearance true to history. No one did this better than the actor playing George Harrison. There were times I had to remind myself that he was an actor, and not the real George Harrison.

The Beatles 'Let It Be' Show In London

Throughout much of the show, there were antique-style television screens on each side of the stage playing footage from whichever time period the show was currently in. Everything from actual concert footage to the big events of the 60’s (the moon landing, Vietnam war, etc) was played on these screens. This was a really nice touch, particularly for those of us who weren’t around yet in the 60’s.

Choosing a favorite part of Let It Be would have been difficult had they not played my all-time favorite, Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown). With John’s vocals and George playing the sitar, one of my favorite instruments, the song gives me goosebumps every time. Given that it isn’t quite as mainstream as some of their other hits, I never expected to hear it at the show, so the second I heard the first chord, tears sprang to my eyes. I am officially that fan that cries at a fake Beatles show.

The Beatles 'Let It Be' Show In London

Let It Be is about two and a half hours long, with a short intermission in the middle. The sets towards the end of the show just beg for audience participation, and the performers actually encourage it. Get out of your seat and dance, sing along – it’s all allowed.

I knew the end was near when they played Give Peace A Chance, which is actually a solo track by John Lennon recorded towards the end of his time with the Beatles. Luckily, the guys came back out one last time for an encore performance, obviously planned since this was when they covered Let It Be. There were a few major hits I would have liked to have heard and didn’t, but I wouldn’t have wanted the job of deciding which songs were worthy of the show and which weren’t either.

Curious if you should bring the kids along? Babies and toddlers might be best left with a sitter, but school age children will love the bright lights, colorful sets, and the ability to get out of their seats and move to the music. Ear plugs are provided by the theater free of charge for young children who find the music too loud. Ticket prices are very reasonable, making it much easier to bring the whole family if you choose.

Overall, the show was a winner – perfect for Beatles fans, or anyone for that matter as long as they appreciate good music. To be able to see a Beatles tribute like this actually in the UK was pretty priceless for this American fan!

Savoy Theatre: Website
Address: Savoy Court, The Strand, London WC2R 0ET

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19 Comments

  • Reply
    Miwa
    October 28, 2013 at 2:07 AM

    I am a huuuge Beatles fan, too. (I’m pretty sure E will be able to sing “Golden Slumbers” once she can really talk, since that’s our go-to lullaby.) This show looks amazing! I think I would’ve shed a tear or two, too. Have you heard of Cirque du Soleil’s “Love” in Las Vegas? I missed my chance to see that when I was in Las Vegas and am so regretting it!

    • Reply
      Sarah Shumate
      October 28, 2013 at 5:22 PM

      What a fantastic good night song! I have always sung John Lennon’s ‘Beautiful Boy’ song to Lexie, changing the boy to girl, of course. ;o)
      I have heard of that show in Vegas! I’ve had a few friends go and see it and they loved it! I’ve never been to Vegas, but that would be at the top of my list if I went!

  • Reply
    Sara Louise
    October 28, 2013 at 9:52 AM

    I would love to see this show! I grew up with the Beatles as well, Hey Jude was my parent’s wedding song so the Beatles were big in my house :)

  • Reply
    Katrin
    October 28, 2013 at 3:22 PM

    I would love to see this show! I love the Beatles so much! There was a Beatles show in Vegas when we were there but we missed it! Thanks for sharing the pictures, I am glad you had such a great time! And I agree, I also prefer smaller venues!

    • Reply
      Sarah Shumate
      October 28, 2013 at 5:26 PM

      Was it the Cirque du Soleil ‘Love’ show? I’ve never seen that one, but my dad bought me the soundtrack to the Vegas show. :o) Next best thing, I guess…

      • Reply
        Katrin
        October 28, 2013 at 6:28 PM

        Yes, that’s the one. It was in the hotel we stayed at. We already had tickets for 3 others shows so we missed it. :( Would love to see it someday! And I am sure the soundtrack is amazing!

        • Reply
          Sarah Shumate
          October 28, 2013 at 8:21 PM

          There is so much to do in Vegas, I don’t know how anyone choses what is the most important things to hit while they’re there!! I can’t believe I’ve never been!

          • Katrin
            October 29, 2013 at 8:57 AM

            I agree, there is way too much to do in Vegas! We went to three shows but I still wanted to see more. It is definitely a fun place to be, everything seems to be so unreal. :)

  • Reply
    Jo
    October 28, 2013 at 2:29 PM

    It sounds like an awesome night out! Love The Beatles

  • Reply
    Keith Wynn
    October 28, 2013 at 3:20 PM

    Oh my gosh I SO hope they bring this to the theater here in Lexington, KY someday.

  • Reply
    Anna
    October 29, 2013 at 11:52 AM

    What a wonderful review! The Beatles always remind me of my dad who used to sing and play the guitar. Norwegian Wood was one of his and is one of my favourite songs :)

  • Reply
    Jenn Bowers
    October 29, 2013 at 3:10 PM

    Oh wow!!! Your photography wowed me in this post. LOVE it!

  • Reply
    Liz
    October 29, 2013 at 3:23 PM

    Fun!!! I’m so happy that you are able to see and do so many things while you are there. But . . . don’t call yourself old ever again. Because that means I’m REALLY old ;) Hugs, Sarah! I’ve missed you :(

  • Reply
    Nicole
    October 29, 2013 at 3:56 PM

    What a fun experience for you, being such a big Beatles fan! I bet you just loved every second of it :) It looks like they did a good job of re-creating each of the personas, making for an even more authentic experience! Definitely a great way to celebrate your 30th!

  • Reply
    topchelseagirl
    October 29, 2013 at 9:37 PM

    Glad you enjoyed it so much. My Mum did see The Beatles live, more than once! I’ve told her off for not keeping her tickets!

  • Reply
    Phill R
    October 29, 2013 at 11:07 PM

    Glad you enjoyed the show Sarah. We’re off to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory this year, but Let it be was one of the options we considered. I come from a family of Beatles fans, some how most of friends also come from Beatles fan families, so I really hope it’s still running next November for the annual London trip! If not I may have to round up the troops for a delayed 30th celebration early 2014!! Thanks for sharing

  • Reply
    Mandy Southgate
    October 31, 2013 at 4:01 PM

    Oh, you know, I work behind the Savoy (well sort of next to it) but I’ve never thought of going to see this show. It sounds great and from what you’ve described, I’d love it!

    Have you been to Liverpool? My dad grew up in Prescot, just outside of Liverpool and lives near there now. He loves taking me around the Grapes, Cavern Club and other Beatles haunts.

    I laughed at this: “I am officially that fan that cries at a fake Beatles show”. I dragged my poor, long-suffering husband along to the Pink Floyd Experience and sang along to every, single word. Loudly. I’m officially that fan.

    • Reply
      Sarah Shumate
      October 31, 2013 at 9:49 PM

      Haha! I’m so glad you can relate! There are just some songs, and certainly entire band catalogs, that require that sort of obnoxious fan behavior. :o)

      I’ve never been to Liverpool, but I really hope to someday! It would be incredible to see the bars where they played before everyone knew who they were. Ahhh….if only I’d been born 30 years earlier!

  • Reply
    Diana Bockus
    November 8, 2013 at 6:53 PM

    I am so in love with how small the theatre is! I love seeing shows in a small, intimate setting. What a great birthday gift for your first year in London! Seems appropriate. Happy Late Birthday Lady! :)

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