Of course, the spooky magic of a real-life 1960’s Beatles’ gig was that no-one in the audience ever heard a single note the Fab Four played! A full-on, relentless tsunami of shrill, hysterical screaming filled every theatre with ear-blasting decibels that brought the promise of tinnitus for life. The magic of a 2020’s Magic of the Beatles show is that every song can be heard! A further bonus is that these four pleasingly impressive Beatle incarnations get everyone excitedly clapping, swaying, singing and dancing not only to hits from the group’s short-lived stage-gig era but also to iconic hits of later years. With each instrument, amp, sound and outfit sourced and designed to be as spot-on true to the originals as possible, it’s fun, bouncy, unflagging impetus and polished, top-notch music from start to finish.

For the first hour early hits pelt out full-tilt, taking us through the UK’s joyous, Beatlemania years with the likes of She Loves You (triple yeah), Please, Please Me, I Wanna Hold Your Hand, Can’t Buy Me Love, This Boy, Drive My Car, Paperback Writer, Ticket to Ride, A Hard Day’s Night, I Feel Fine and Help! etc, etc, before jetting off to America’s Shea Stadium. Onstage sit legendary drum-kit, an array of authentic guitars, amps and keyboard; at the back a simple B&W film-strip dangles while neat graphics and B&W photos of scenes appear in turn, sound recordings from Shea also featuring to help recreate the flavour of the time.

But it’s all change after the interval as Lucy takes to the sky with diamonds, turning black and white times into psychedelic kaleidoscopes of colour, light and sound. Moustachioed and long-haired, the performers now sport flamboyant Sergeant Pepper regalia before moving on to John’s white suit era. Assuming accent, voice timbre, physical stance and the playful, cheeky attitude of their counterparts, and staying true to their personas throughout (John even chews gum) the four musicians enjoy warm, ongoing banter with the audience and with one another, lending constant humour to the proceedings. Jokes and puns abound (Give Puce a Chance, says Ringo, dressed in Sergeant Pepper pink, while Paul’s answer to John’s request for Yoko to sing a number is that, yes, she can ‘do one’.)

There are songs a-plenty to thrill to, and the audience thrills to every song, be it I am the Walrus, With a Little Help from My Friends, In My Life, Here Comes the Sun, Yellow Submarine, Revolution, Get Back, Something, Come Together or Lucy in The Sky. Back to the sixties for a finale of Twist and Shout and I Saw her Standing There and then it’s Obladee and hey to Jude.

The singing is generally pleasing and impressive while instrumental output is remarkably true to original recordings. There’s no stinting on accuracy of replication when it comes to later, more complex, studio-based recordings, either. The piccolo trumpet still rings out on Penny Lane and the whole gamut of George Martin-inspired strings, clarinets, trumpets, keyboards etc, that are so essential to the mix, pour forth from invisible sources. There are fine solos from worthy drummer Joe Montague as an endearing Ringo Starr, George Petch as reserved George Harrison, David Peterson as the less reserved, chattier Paul McCartney – now right-handed – and from Michael Gagliano as the rebellious, irrepressible Lennon.

This bright and breezy celebration of four legends and their supreme contribution to the world of music and to the world at large conjures up nostalgic memories for older fans and takes younger generations on exciting, new trips down Penny Lane. It’s Fab Four fun for all.

Eileen Caiger Gray