There aren’t that many bands whose musical output and fame spans some 6 decades. But an American duo, who originally performed in 1956, under the name ‘Tom & Jerry’ and are still today one of the most recognisable groups ever. Their music is, for many people, the soundtrack to their lives and their songs are as well-known today as they were when they were originally released all those years ago. The duo is, of course, Simon & Garfunkel and I managed to catch The Simon & Garfunkel Story when it set down at the Vaudeville Theatre in London’s West End.
The show tells the story of Simon & Garfunkel from their first meeting at elementary school in Queens, New York, through to their 1981 concert in Central Park attended by over 500,000 people. Of course, for the majority of the audience, the story isn’t really that important, the show is all about the music and that is brought alive in spectacular style by Sam O’Hanlon (as Paul Simon) and Charles Blyth (as Art Garfunkel). Sam and Paul manage to recreate the sound and feel of the classic songs so that the duo bring the memory of Simon & Garfunkel alive but still inject some of their own personality into the music. Backed by an extremely good band – Leon Camfield (Bass), Will Tuckwell (Electric Guitar/Keyboards), Mat Swales (Drums), Kyla Brown (Keyboards), Tim Bloomer (Electric Guitar) – Sam and Paul deliver a show that any fan of the original will really enjoy.
If you’re someone like me that doesn’t know the music that well, then worry not as you will get to hear some of your favourites – ‘Mrs. Robinson’, ‘The Sound of Silence’, ‘Homeward Bound’, etc – plus others that you don’t know. Accompanying the songs are images of the USA in the fifties, sixties and seventies. Full credit has to go to Video Designer Josh Woods for the wonderful matching of the horrors of the Vietnam war with the warm cosy atmosphere of ‘Scarborough Fair’. My one issue with the video was that, at times, it was difficult to see the text appearing on it as the screen is quite low and both Sam and Charles were directly in front of it.
All in all, The Simon & Garfunkel Story works really well. At the end, after the ‘surprise’ encore – well you knew it was going to happen – the cast took their bows to a standing ovation and resounding cheers. Ultimately, in going to see The Simon & Garfunkel Story, you probably won’t learn much more about the duo than you could have found on Wikipedia, but when you leave the theatre the unforgettable music will stay with you forever.
Review by Terry Eastham
Direct from a sell-out worldwide tour and standing ovations at every performance, The Simon & Garfunkel Story arrives in London’s West End at the Vaudeville Theatre! Using huge projection photos and original film footage, this 50th Anniversary Celebration also features a full live band and brass ensemble performing all the hits including ‘Mrs Robinson’, ‘Cecilia’, ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’, ‘Homeward Bound‘ and many more.
Read our exclusive interview with Sam O’Hanlon (Paul Simon) and Charles Blyth (Art Garfunkel).
THE SIMON & GARFUNKEL STORY
Monday 12 – Saturday
17 November, 2018
London, WC2R 0NH
The Lyric Theatre
Monday 10th December 2018 – Monday 24th June 2019
29 Shaftesbury Avenue
London W1D 7ES