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Come Together | Royal Court Liverpool

Come Together” for a rip-roaring journey through the Lennon and McCartney songbook at Liverpool’s Royal Court. Set against a projected backdrop of real-life scenes from 60s and 70s Liverpool and classy animations, the rooftop staging gives any audience member with any Beatles knowledge a clue as to just where the story is heading.

Set design by Christopher Court and video design by Jamie Jenkin are exceptional. Audiences would be forgiven for totally losing themselves in this brilliant show, so authentic are the performances from Tom Connor as Paul McCartney and Mark Newnham as John Lennon. Connor’s mannerisms, in particular, were second-to-none (other than perhaps Paul himself!) as he soared effortlessly through the vocal challenges of the material. Newnham’s performance perfectly captured the many moods of John, with his vocal equally strong.

The real star of the show here is the musicianship for which the performers, band (Ben Gladwin, Greg Joy, Adam Keast and Mike Woodvine) and musical director Howard Gray must be applauded. Flawless harmonies, band-a-rockin’ and not a note out of place. It’s no easy task to tackle a songbook as vast and well-known, especially in Liverpool where the songs were formed and still hold such a huge place in the community's lives. When the material is this good, you have to let it speak for itself and that’s exactly what the performers here achieved.

Told chronologically in chapters, the script, rather than detract from the songs, adds a real element of story-telling and numerous laugh-out-loud moments. Director Bob Eaton provides us with well-needed light and shade through clever use of staging, and through some more intimate numbers, “Yesterday” and “In My Life” which helped to keep us engaged throughout. Little pockets of heartfelt genius add a further dimension to what could easily have been a stand and sing Beatles tribute and make this so much more than a rock concert.

The Band deserve a special mention - Gladwin, Joy, Keast and Woodvine do so much more than stand or sit and play the music – they engage with the text and the songs, and really perform with boundless energy. Sound design by Kate Harvey is crisp yet pumping, exactly what you need for this kind of hybrid show. We need to understand what the performers are saying and singing, but we also want to genuinely believe we’re at a Beatles concert, and this was achieved with aplomb.

The biggest compliment I can pay Ian Scott for his lighting design, is that I rarely noticed it. Intimacy and believability were key for this piece as we transitioned from rock concert to living room, to rooftop to spot lit piano, all of which felt natural.

Given the way the Lennon and McCartney songbook progressed, act two was always going to be a challenge if tackling chronologically. The fluidity takes a small dip as we journey through the more rebellious periods of song writing, and you can feel the audience energy dip a little. No matter, as the final 15 minutes are a bundle of fun, with an opportunity for the audience members to have a singsong themselves.

It's not going to change the world, but it is a beautiful tribute to the most prolific song-writers the world may ever see. I’m going again! Come Together plays at Liverpool’s Royal Court until 6th April, tickets can be purchased here.


AD | gifted tickets in return for an honest review | photography by Andrew AB Photography


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