The Simon and Garfunkel Story – A Genius Concept
June 12, 2015
[All images courtesy of thesimonandgarfunkelstory.com]
With high profile biopic-style musicals such as The Buddy Holly Story taking the musical theatre world by storm, I was interested to see what would make The Simon and Garfunkel Story stand out from the crowd.
The performance was like nothing else I’ve seen on stage. The show does not act out scenes from Simon and Garfunkel’s past, but instead the two leading actors engage in natural, conversational chat to tell the audience the background to each song.
I’m going to be honest: when I first became aware of this format, I was unsure of whether it would work. I was wrong. The style allowed the songs to become the main focus of the show, which was undoubtedly the main draw for most of the audience. With such world-class talented musicians onstage, it only seemed natural for the music to take over.
The talking in between songs was a refreshing breather, though. This breaking of the fourth wall reminded me more of musicians at a gig than a musical theatre performance. Please let me reassure you that this was no tribute act – it was a beautiful, capturing performance that took the audience on a journey of the Simon and Garfunkel story in a way that other similarly styled shows do not.
Every single performer deserves mention. They all worked together superbly, and the performers clearly had a personal connection and a good working relationship that shone from the stage.
Dean Elliott is an absolute star, and I’ll be very surprised if I don’t hear his name becoming bigger and bigger in the musical theatre scene. His performance as Paul Simon was magnificent and his stage presence would rival some of the industry’s most high-profile performers.
Elliott’s performance was complimented by the angelic voice of David Tudor as Art Garfunkel. His unusual voice was distinctively Garfunkel, and I particularly enjoyed his calming stage presence.
The live band was superb. Leon Camfield on bass, Murray Gardiner on lead guitar on keyboard and Josh Powell on drums worked brilliantly together and created an amazing sound. Each musician had their own style and presence that contributed to a distinctive sound and feel that filled the theatre. Truly bringing Simon and Garfunkel to life!
David Beck did a great job as director, and the whole show worked brilliantly. The show is touring Europe, and will be well received wherever it goes.
The set and lighting remained pretty much unchanged throughout; a traditional band set-up that allowed Elliott and Tudor to shine in their own right without fancy set distractions. The costume changes were subtle but masterfully created to show the slight changes in era and captured Simon and Garfunkel’s essence. I was also a fan of the video and photography projection at the back of the stage. It added to the show without distracting the audience from the performance, which is quite a hard thing to pull off when it comes to projections.
The set list of songs was chosen well, with softer, more melancholy songs soon followed by upbeat tunes that literally had the audience up and dancing. My favourite performance personally was “Cecilia”, as the performance created an electric and engaging the atmosphere in the theatre.
Fan of Simon and Garfunkel or not, I would absolutely recommend seeing the show, with the nearest performances being at York Opera House (24th June), Halifax Victoria Theatre (27th September) and St Georges Hall in Bradford (10th November). There are plenty of other tour dates too if you fancy a trip further afield!
Read our interview with Dean Elliot of The Simon and Garfunkel Story