Theatre Review: The Bootleg Beatles

The Bootleg Beatles.
The Bootleg Beatles.

It is not often that people wish themselves older than they are, but last night I had the feeling I would like to have been around in the ‘60s.

My first twinge of jealousy for those older than myself hit me when I arrived at the Royal & Derngate theatre box office to pick up my tickets to see The Bootleg Beatles band.

“I would just like to tell you, I was there for the real thing,” said the friendly lady behind the counter. “The Beatles, ABC Cinema, 1964.”

I may never be able to see The Beatles play live in concert but, for me, going to see their leading tribute act was the next best thing.

I felt a twinge of fear; would The Bootleg Beatles be as good, or would they be a dreadful shadow of a memory of something that was once brilliant.

But I need not have worried, The Bootleg Beatles know what they are doing and provide a fantastic evening of entertainment.

The mood was set by images from the ‘60s played on a big screen behind the band. We watched screaming girls and people clad in the trendy clobber of the era parading down Carnaby Street in London.

Then the four band members, ‘John, Paul, Ringo and George’ launched into some of the famous early hits, moving chronologically through The Beatles’ career as the show progressed.

They delighted the crowd with renditions of the simpler early hits such as I Want To Hold Your Hand and Hard Day’s Night to the more elaborate later songs like Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band, Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields Forever.

Closing my eyes for a second, I genuinely could not distinguish much of a difference between the vocals of The Beatles and The Bootleg Beatles.

The delivery of the songs was brilliant, right down to each band member taking on the mannerisms and performance styles of each of the original Beatles members.

A mention should also go to the backing orchestra who played everything from trumpets, French horns and cellos to a fireman’s bell (in a performance of Penny Lane).

The show was a keen reminder of how wonderful, musically complex and sometimes surreal The Beatles hits were and I would thoroughly recommend an outing to see The Bootleg Beatles to any fan of ‘60s music.