The Sound Of Silence – Absent In Harrogate!
Phil Hopkins, Arts & Travel Editor
You know there is something special in town when Harrogate Theatre is jammed to the rafters and locals stage a controlled, middle-aged riot at the end of the performance!
It’s been nigh on four years since I first reviewed The Simon & Garfunkel Story, actor Dean Elliott’s creation, no doubt designed to earn him a few extra quid while he was ‘resting’.
But, a bit like Mamma Mia, it took off and has been flying all over the globe ever since, leaving audiences screaming for more, invariably minutes after the opening number.
These days there are so many ‘….the story of’ type musicals, that it is hard to know what to expect. The Jersey Boys is a full-blown ‘production’, with great music and lib, whilst ‘This is Elvis’ is an embarrassment until the second half, redeemed only by the King’s music and the valiant efforts of a single man.
However, Elliott’s show – he has played Simon himself – is a nice balance. On the one hand the two leading men, last night it was the turn of Philip Murray Warson as Paul Simon and Charles Blyth as Art Garfunkel, seek to ‘model’ themselves on the New York duo and sound just like them, however, there is no attempt to ‘be’ them.
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However, what sets the show apart is the subtle, simple dialogue that tells the musical life story of Simon & Garfunkel, and the amazing video backdrop that never ceases for the duration of the show.
And that is the masterstroke because the footage taps into the audience’s consciousness, taking each person back to a time many will remember; Nixon, Kennedy, the rise of US consumerism, Americana, Central Park, race riots. The music triggers memory and the video does the same in reverse. Together they are a powerful tonic.
And it is a tonic that leaves people feeling groovy, so groovy in fact that some audience members gave a standing ovation in between numbers whilst, at the end, there was whooping, cheering and screams for more; unprecedented displays of emotion from a crowd more used to Weeton’s and elderflower gin quaffed in the Black Swan at Burn Bridge!
The songs were all there; Mrs Robinson, The Boxer, the Sound of Silence, Scarborough Fair. It was a joy to listen to hit after hit, delivered so seamlessly and so professionally by a three-piece band and two wonderful performers, who have blown away every single cobweb to deliver a slick evening of musical entertainment and memories.
Check out performance dates at www.thesimonandgarfunkelstory.com or see them at Scarborough Spa Theatre on July 22nd. You MUST go! Tickets 01723 821888.
At Grand Opera House York Tuesday 2 October.
Tickets: 0844 871 7615
The Sound Of Silence – Absent In Harrogate!, 5th July 2018, 15:30 PM