The Simon and Garfunkel Story at the Lyric Theatre
Those born after 1970 who know little about Simon & Garfunkel will be pleasantly surprised by the complex beauty of their ballads. Directed by Dean Elliot, The Simon and Garfunkel Story offers an inspiring taste of this brilliant duo’s amazing talents, while presenting a work that stands on its own as a highly entertaining musical.
Most people have likely seen the classic film The Graduate, whose soundtrack is comprised of 1960s Simon & Garfunkel hits, like The Sound of Silence and Mrs Robinson. The Graduate symbolises a time of change when the world was awakening to civil rights advancements and social revolution. The pair’s gentle, poetic folk rock is an emblem of these transformations.
While no musician can emulate the precise style of another, Sam O’Hanlon on guitar as Paul Simon and Charles Blyth as Art Garfunkel come quite close to recreating the soulful charisma of the original combo. Although the opening rendition of The Sound of Silence seems a little generic, others like I Am a Rock are remarkable. Performing selections from albums Bookends, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme and Bridge Over Troubled Water (final record), O’Hanlon and Blyth are excellent, the numbers becoming more enthralling as the piece progresses. Accompanied by a fantastic band – with guitar, keyboard, drums, trumpet, clarinet and trombone – the overall instrumental and vocal quality are outstanding.
A video screen as backdrop displays a history of 1960s and 70s UK and America, helping to recreate the atmosphere of the singers’ era. Particularly fun are shots of icons such as Janis Joplin, and scenes from The Graduate, like Dustin Hoffman and “cougar” seductress Anne Bancroft during a great rendition of Mrs Robinson.
The second act – comprised of choices from Bridge Over Troubled Water – is truly energised. With audience participation – and everyone evidently loving it – a lively Cecilia is followed by the gorgeous ballad The Only Living Boy in New York, and Bye Bye Love. Finally, as an encore are the ethereal and superb Bridge Over Trouble Water and the remarkably moving and beautiful The Boxer.
With a majority of baby boomers in the audience who clearly knew every song, those of us less familiar with Simon & Garfunkel enjoyed the spectacle just as much. Their music has a rare quality with lovely, poetic lyrics. In summary, The Simon and Garfunkel Story is a terrific, tremendously enjoyable show.
Photo: Jacqui Wilson
The Simon and Garfunkel Story is at the Lyric Theatre on selected dates until 26th March 2018. Book your tickets here.
Watch the trailer for The Simon and Garfunkel Story here: