BWW Review: A Nostalgic Twist 'n Shout with BEATLEMANIA ON TOUR at Artscape
Brian May once said, "I don't think anybody comes close to The Beatles" - but BEATLEMANIA ON TOUR certainly does an excellent job trying. With their mop-top haircuts, replica guitars and talented musical stylings, be prepared with BEATLEMANIA ON TOUR to clap your hands, rattle your jewelry, and get out of your seat for a memorable night with the fab four.
Starting with The Beatles' earlier performances in Hamburg with then drummer Pete Best, the production transports you through the band's Cavern club early days, Ed Sullivan show breakthrough, Shea stadium pandemonium, and ending nicely with the alter ego reveal of Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Aside from the chronological timeline of songs, projections and small pieces of dialogue help you follow The Beatles' 10 year journey. Artfully skirting past their last rooftop performance, BEATLEMANIA ON TOUR ensures nostalgia like no other. One can leave the auditorium grateful that such incredible music lives on nearly 50 years later; rather than bitter that The Beatles came to an end.
When covering such an iconic band it's hard to include all of their shining glories in just 2 hours. Obviously the production caters to a mass audience and features the well-known hits such as Can't Buy Me Love, She Loves You, Help, Hey Jude, and many, many more. A little bit more die-hard fans like myself will be delighted to hear some B-sides as well such as You Can't Do That and I Should Have Known Better. Overall, the selection would please any fan around during the band's heyday or even later generations new to their foot-tapping earworms.
With Zac Coombs (as John Lennon) leading the band, his vocal talents and musical ability are something Lennon could be proud of. Supported by Joe Kane (as Paul McCartney) and Brent McMullen (as George Harrison), the trio have perfected the swinging 60s songs down to a tee (particularly exemplifying their harmony skills in the stunning This Boy). Kane and McMullen shine in solo melodies themselves as well. Ben Harper (as Ringo Starr) is a bit of a wallflower compared to the rest (true to his character) but he comes into his own for Yellow Submarine in the second act. All are accompanied by authentic musical instruments and costumes as well, that if you look quickly enough, you might think you're in 1966.
The strength in BEATLEMANIA ON TOUR may not come from exact physical resemblances ("George Harrison" bearing a striking resemblance to John Lennon), but the representations thereof are charming. From McCartney's signature head shake to Harrison's cheeky grin, it is evident that a lot of thought and studying went into pulling off a tribute show that feels like the real deal.
Having been lucky enough to see the show on its South African debut tour, this nostalgic trip down memory lane was twofold for me, and one I would happily take every decade if I could! Perfect for all ages and any Lennon/McCartney lyrical knowledge levels, BEATLEMANIA ON TOUR does more than simply transport you through The Beatles' career; it takes you with them as well.
BEATLEMANIA ON TOUR runs until 11 November and ticket prices range from R190 - R390 and can be booked online at online.computicket.com and www.artscape.co.za or by calling the Artscape Box Office on (021) 410 9838. For more details about the show, visit: beatlemaniaontour.com.