We dare you to see “The Beatles LOVE” by Cirque du Soleil and sit still through the performance. We’ll just let you know now that it is impossible…we wouldn’t even make that bet with a robot; it is The Beatles we are talking about, after all. Oh and now that the show is three quarters updated (inching it’s way to its complete head-to-toe revamp on its 10-year anniversary this July), the production is more vibrant, exciting and beguiling than ever before.
The show’s musical director, Giles Martin, was called upon for the refresh project that has been more than two years in the making. Son of Sir George Martin (aka “The Fifth Beatle” due to his extensive work developing the famed music group’s “Love Me Do” in 1962), Giles had a major impact on the show’s revamp. Between Giles and “LOVE’”s director, Dominic Champagne, every aspect of the production has been re-gilded in creativity.
Most notably changing the experience for audience members is the quality of the sound in the theater-in-the-round-style showroom. In addition to updating the venue’s overhead sound system, the three speakers that resided in each of the theater’s 2,013 seats were replaced with two higher quality speakers on the left and right side of the headrests. This feature works double duty delivering crisp tunes to each guest’s ears while also making it effortless to distinguish stage left and stage right, which could otherwise be difficult due to the fact that the stage is round.
With 31 of The Beatles’ songs in the best quality they’ve achieved thus far, thanks to modern day technology, there must be equally stellar acts and costumes to complement the musical artistry. The revamp made sure this happened too.
Costume changes are slight but make all the difference when it comes to overall experience… especially in a Cirque du Soleil production. Returning patrons will notice things like the addition of the “Yellow Submarine’s” featured Blue Meanie and others may notice the new costumes that the roller skaters wear during their daredevil “Help!” routine. Even more riveting were the new projections that were displayed on a central curtain during the solo lyrical dance number “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” Stripped of tangible props save a single silk handkerchief, this number was exquisite and the dancer’s interactions with the projected images of trees and human figures was profound.
Other notable changes include a spring floor for the acrobats to implement more of those “Cirque” moves that make us all wonder if the performers are actually human. You know, the flips and tricks that make us want to believe they are immortal or superhuman. And speaking of superhuman, the trampoline act swapped out the central phone booth with a totally “hippied-out” VW van. It was definitely the grooviest set piece in the show… billowing with smoke and all. Also speaking to our sense of nostalgia was the incense scent-infused, meditative number to “Here Comes The Sun.” Without fail, this act has the audience’s full attention as the performers enchant onlookers and a central sun set piece attracts all attention with an ethereal force.
As to be expected, scenes such as “Octopus’s Garden,” “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” were absolutely mesmerizing. We felt high watching the beautiful scenes unfold and we promise you that we had no part in the smoke that came out of that VW van.
What really got us were the new acrobatic acts set to the tunes of “Twist and Shout,” “I Want You” and “Yesterday,” as well as the new floor projections that took on the likes of splashing rain puddles as the dancers “splashed” around the stage to “Lady Madonna.” Of note, the new “Yesterday” trapeze act also featured video of Paul McCartney singing in the background and earned the performing couple the loudest applause of the show… we have a feeling that act will be in the show for the next 10 years.
Taking the audience on a musical rollercoaster of upbeat, somber, relaxing and tense music combinations, we can say with absolution that Giles, Champagne and the entire cast and crew of “The Beatles LOVE” have exceeded expectations of their revamp and we can only imagine the magic that will come to life on their actual anniversary date. This show is the four-dimensional embodiment of the music that was created years ago. It is a full sensory celebration.
Whether or not you’re a Beatles fan, this is a show that is great for the whole family and will, without a question, leave you feeling awe-inspired and uplifted and perhaps a little high on life.