The magic of Simon & Garfunkel lives on at The Brook in Southampton on May 2.
Dean Elliott – Paul Simon in the show – is delighted at the way it has all taken off since he launched The Simon and Garfunkel Story at the beginning of last year.
“It has been incredible. We just thought ‘Let’s take it out for six months and see where it goes’. We did it and it was such a success that so many people loved it that the theatres are wanting to book us again. We went into the West End and started filling the concert halls. So we thought ‘Why would we want to stop!’
“I think what we get right is the fact it is not a tribute show. It is not cheesy. It is not tacky. It is done with absolute love for the music and for the story and for the people. I think the reality is that for people who like Simon & Garfunkel, their memories are actually quite precious to them. They hold those memories really dear, and they don’t want anyone to ruin them, to cheapen them in anyway. They don’t want anyone who is going to offer the music as a pastiche or a caricature. For us the absolute starting point was that we were huge fans ourselves.”
The Simon and Garfunkel Story, with David Tudor as Garfunkel, tells the tale of how two young boys from Queens, New York went on to become the world’s most successful music duo of all time. Starting from their humble beginnings as 50’s rock n roll duo Tom & Jerry, The Simon and Garfunkel Story takes you through all the songs and stories that shaped them, the dramatic split, their individual solo careers and ending with a recreation of the celebrated 1981 Central Park reunion concert.
“One reviewer called it something like a ‘rock ‘n’ roll docu-tribute’. It was a really lovely sentence. It is almost like a documentary. We have got a big screen behind us. The great thing for the audience is that Simon & Garfunkel spanned the whole of the 1960s. They started in 1957, and they split up in 1970. You can see them as very much an expression of the 60s, and so much happened in that decade that was life-changing. The decade opened up millions of people to a newer way of life, and we can introduce that sort of thing through the videos on the screen. We can touch on the lighter themes, and we can also touch on some of the darker themes and then tie them all together with a neat bow! For us really, the videos are like an extra member of the cast.
“We are in the process of changing the show for later in the year, but I think we got it right right from the start. We have added a couple of songs, and we took out one, A Most Peculiar Man. It wasn’t that it wasn’t getting a good response. It was more the fact that we are telling the story in chronological form. If you were writing a musical, you would put in your big hits in certain places for the maximum effect. If you think of the peaks and the troughs in a piece of theatre, you think where you want something maybe a bit sad and then something more romantic.
“But because we were doing it chronologically, we found that we had too many similar songs together at the same time, and one of them had to go.”
Against that, they were able to add in Baby Driver, one that the fans were definitely demanding: “That song is great. It was one the fans were always asking for, and it was great to be able to add it in.”