"She Loves You"
Downtown Cabaret Theatre, Bridgeport
The Beatles have been reincarnated in Bridgeport, and all of us (the Beatles fans certainly) are the richer for it! Now on the Downtown Cabaret stage four gifted performers are beating out a musical tribute to the boys from Liverpool.
This straight-on concert (titled “She Loves You!”) carries the Beatles musically from their first 1964 appearance on the Ed Sullivan TV show to the end of the ‘60s. Never mind that the show is loud, loud, LOUD. Never mind that words are unintelligible. It is the Beatle beat to the hilt, and the audience responds accordingly. (After all, Beatles fans do not need to be told the words, which are engraved in their hearts.)
The four performers—Alan LeBoeuf (Paul McCartney), David Leon (John Lennon), John Brosnan (George Harrison), and Carmine Grippo (Ringo Starr)--are the very essence of their characters in look and style and performance. From the early-day page-boy haircut and proper black suit, to the later long-haired hippy look, these neo-Beatles are right on target. They have had practice in perfecting and looking the parts. Both LeBoeuf and Leon were featured in “Beatlemania” on Broadway. And Brosnan and Grippo are seasoned musicians well suited to their roles.
They bring back such favorites as “Let It Be,” “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” “A Hard Day’s Night,” and “Hey Jude,” to name a few, to which the audience cannot resist adding their own sound and stomp.
For Beatles fans “She Loves You!” is perfection, but for critical theater critics, critical elements are, alas, missing. Where is the story itself? How did the Beatles rise to fame? What were their backgrounds? To explore such questions with a story line would have given substance and depth to the show. Background videos attempt to tell the story of those times, but they are poorly constructed and woefully disappointing. The images are vague, sloppy, repetitive.
Nonetheless this is a worthy show which authentically recreates that band which became the phenomenon known as the Beatles. Watching these performers, one sees why the Beatles had their cataclysmic effect. “She Loves You!” is history made palatable.
-- -Irene Backalenick
Mar. 22, 2008