The Simon and Garfunkel Story – Vaudeville Theatre until 17th November and Touring
Review by Caroline Hanks-Farmer
This was my second visit to see The Simon and Garfunkel Story. I enjoyed it so much last time, that I knew my parents would love it and couldn’t wait to take them. Once again the cast did not disappoint and I was equally delighted to see that a matinée at the Vaudeville theatre was sold-out.
While Paul Simon, now aged 76, this summer played his final London concert in Hyde Park, The Simon & Garfunkel Story – the critically acclaimed concert style theatre show, tells the story of how two young boys from the same neighbourhood in Queens, New York went on to become the world’s most successful music duo of all time, this production will continue to thrill and entertain his army of fans.
Using state of the art video projection, contemporary newsreel footage, TV commercials, incredible concert-style lighting and a full live brass ensemble The Simon & Garfunkel Story is a moving and powerful concert chronicling their rise from their humble beginnings as 50’s rock ‘n’ roll duo Tom & Jerry to global superstardom.
The Simon & Garfunkel Story takes you through all the songs and stories that shaped them, their dramatic break-up at the peak of their international success. Hear about their solo careers and it ends with a stunning recreation of their legendary 1981 Central Park reunion concert.
Photo credit Betty Zapata
As stated above this is a concert style show, now you may or may not enjoy this specific type of show, however I do. It’s a nice and refreshing break to have almost a visual documentary acted out before you. This story takes you on the chronological journey of arguably one of the most iconic music duos of a generation. They are not acting as if they are Simon and Garfunkel they are recreating their story and performing their music – and they do both brilliantly!
Talented performers such as these, in this type of show are unusual, because in my belief, in order to do it justice, they must have an immense admiration and respect for whom’s story they are telling. With just a back drop, you can sit back an indulge yourself in an evening of pure musical delights. I noticed different songs this time around and I know from having attended a small acoustic set that the song list has been refreshed.
I particularly enjoyed the song Patterns which I hadn’t noticed prior to this. It was written by Paul Simon at a time when they were ‘experimenting’ in all that was around in the mid 1960’s. Of course all the iconic songs that we know and love are included, too many to mention but needless to say the audience enjoyed hearing them amongst some less familiar. Particular highlights for me, were songs from the albums Bridge over Troubled Waters, Bookends and Old Friends.
Photo credit Betty Zapata
There’s plenty to enjoy here from the outstanding vocals, to the supporting artistes and finally the apparent love for the songs by Charles Blyth (Art Garfunkel) and Sam O’Hanlon (Paul Simon). The band with the addition of the brass section for this run, brought their own enthusiastic take on the songs which was hugely appreciated. Both Blyth and O’Hanlon, at times, looked totally absorbed within the music, seemingly enjoying it as much as the audience, which was brilliant to witness. I appreciated the encouragement for the audience to join in at given moments, it added to the concert atmosphere and let’s face it who doesn’t want to clap their hands or sing along, when invited to do so of course.
My parents didn’t stop smiling and even shed a tear with the final song, which told me everything I needed to know about their thoughts on the show. My mum actually said on the way home, she forgot she wasn’t watching the real Simon and Garfunkel on the stage the vocals and performance were that extraordinary!
I was delighted to hear that more West End dates for 2019 have now been announced and certainly intend to go again. You can’t beat live performance, with talented artistes who clearly have respect and admiration for the tracks they are performing, from a duo who provided the iconic music of a generation.
If I were you I’d check out www.thesimonandgarfunkelstory.com for future dates. You won’t be disappointed, all the hits are there along with some lesser known ones. For two blissful hours to the audience Blyth and O’Hanlon ARE vocally Simon and Garfunkel – truly remarkable!