Tag Archives: James Fox

REVIEW: Let It Be – King’s Theatre, Glasgow

This article was originally written for and published by The Public Reviews at: http://www.thepublicreviews.com/let-it-be-kings-theatre-glasgow/

5 *****

In avoiding the usual pitfalls of the jukebox musical i.e. shoe-horning the greatest hits of a band around an unnecessary narrative, Let It Be emerges triumphant as the perfect example of how to give your audience exactly what it wants.

The producers have clearly acknowledged that it’s the music that is key. And it’s this simplicity of vision that is its greatest strength. Why tamper with some of the most iconic tunes ever produced by arguably the world’s greatest band? Billed as a ‘theatrical concert’ it is precisely that; a whistle-stop but finely detailed and evocative recreation of The Beatles live, complete with era-by-era costume and scene changes.

It charts the evolution of the Beatles sound from their dimly lit Cavern Club beginnings to their final days, and with 40 songs over two and a half hours there’s certainly a lot of bang for your buck. As the years roll back the irresistible pull of the music takes hold of the enthusiastic audience, who, in true concert fashion, stay on their feet throughout.

The greatest strength of the whole endeavor though is the supremely talented cast (chosen from a company of eight each evening) and their ability to recreate almost perfectly the original Beatles sound. And oh, what a sound they make, the quality of both the playing and the singing is excellent throughout. On opening night here in Glasgow it’s down to James Fox (Paul), Ben Cullingworth (Ringo), Michael Gagliano (John), Paul Mannion (George) and in support on keyboard Steve Geere to be the Fab Four. It seems churlish to single anyone out in such a hugely talented group of musicians but Fox particularly shines, in possession of a show-stopping voice he also faithfully recreates the wide-eyed look that McCartney is well-known for (so good is he that we’ll even forgive the fact that he’s a right-hander) and captures McCartney’s vocal inflection perfectly. Gagliano too, skilfully recreates Lennon’s little quirks as well as his sound and Mannion and Cullingworth’s superb musicianship just shines throughout.

The prevailing tone is upbeat with a rip-roaring wall of sound but there’s a nice contrast in an acoustic section in the second half which allows some of the Beatles more thoughtful and introverted work to be showcased.

This is a sheer joy from start to finish and leaves not only the people in the cheap sheets clapping but everyone: man, woman and child, whooping, hollering and rattling anything they can to show their appreciation for these wonderful musicians and this joyous celebration of the band that changed the face of music forever. Do yourself a favour and get along to see it if you can.

Runs until Sat 5 May then touring

Image: Brinkhoff/Mogenburg

REVIEW: Chess, King’s Theatre Glasgow 9th April 2011 starring James Fox, Daniel Koek, Shona White and David Eric

I’ve never seen this before, it’s probably one of the least seen Tim Rice musicals, written with Bjorn and Benny from Abba. This touring production has been re-staged and re-choreographed by Craig Revell-Horwood (yes him!).

“Two of the world’s greatest chess masters battle it out at the world chess championships but their greatest battle is for the love of one woman. Amidst political intrigue and international conspiracies, the American and the Russian fight to win the heart of Florence Vassy in a romantic triangle that mirrors the heightened passions of the cold war.” – so there!

The more familiar songs in it are probably ‘One Night In Bangkok’ and ‘I Know Him So Well’.

It looks very 80s retro – it is, of course, set during this time and at times the choreography bordered on the cheesy, but it was saved by the strength of the four leads; James Fox, Shona White, Daniel Koek and David Eric, who were all vocally strong, altogether an enjoyable few hours very well performed.