Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, London – until 4 December 2017
Back in London following a UK and international tour, The Simon & Garfunkel Story is wonderfully nostalgic, sure to delight fans of the folk rock duo.
Having no prior knowledge of Simon & Garfunkel music excepting their biggest hits ‘Bridge over Troubled Water’ and ‘Mrs Robinson’, I was fully prepared to expect a wide variety of their songs from their career. But what I was also expecting was a sense of how their story and the development of their style and songwriting skills.
While there is plenty of music that many audiences will be delighted to listen to live, the story and background to Simon & Garfunkel’s career together as one of the easily recognised folk rock duos just seems lacking – even though there are still some fascinating facts thrown in.
Taking audiences chronologically from their childhood friendship all the way through to the sad partings of ways, The Simon & Garfunkel Story shows how their work together and separately helped to influence some of their best known music as a duo.
While it is lacking in terms of the ‘story’ element, the show does make up for this in terms of providing ample entertainment through the gorgeous harmonies of Sam O’Hanlon and Charles Blyth, who work together perfectly in synchronisation to perform songs such as ‘The Sound of Silence’ and ‘Cecilia’.
But there is also great work from the band, comprised of Leon Camfield (bass), Adam Smith (electric guitar/keyboards) and Mat Swales (drums), who really get the audiences going with their performances throughout.
The music is matched by some great projections that reflect the changing times that Simon & Garfunkel created music in, amping up the entertainment value as well as giving more context into the era in which they created their music in.
Much of the first act is made up of quite quiet and beautiful songs such as ‘Kathy’s Song’, which keeps the mood quite steady and beautiful. But it is in the second act where the show livens up considerably with renditions of ‘Mrs Robinson’, ‘Cecilia’ and ‘The Boxer’. These songs add a lot more energy, which by this point the show needed and the audience responded enthusiastically to the change in tone.
Throughout the audience warmly received each song with enthusiastic applause, thanks to the contrasting performances between Sam O’Hanlon and Charles Blyth who bring Simon & Garfunkel back together again with great respect towards their music and achievements.
So did I leave the theatre feeling more informed about the legacy of Simon & Garfunkel? Well not really – but then perhaps that’s not what its really about. It is however a solidly entertaining production that fans of Simon & Garfunkel will thoroughly enjoy.
The Simon & Garfunkel Story will be performing at the Lyric Theatre on the 2nd October, 6th November and the 4th December. Book tickets here.