Tuesday, September 26

Something about George – Liverpool Theatre Festival

Something about George is a concert with a difference. Written and musically directed by Jon Fellows, it utilises live musical performance, storytelling and contemporaneous recordings to tell the story of the youngest member of one of Britain’s most famous most successful and enduring bands.

Opening with the iconic screams of girls hysterical over Beatlemania, and the announcement that the Beatles have broken up quickly brings a halt to the story of the Fab Four. Performed by three musicians: Daniel Taylor and Fellows on guitar and Ben Gladwin on keyboard, the show combines a showcase of George Harrison’s post-Beatle repertoire with anecdotes and stories from his life after the breakup of the band.

Taylor narrates the story of Harrison’s life and tells us that George was both the youngest and quietest of the Beatles. This meant that he could be dictated to by other members of the band and his song-writing contributions but not always taken seriously idea list by the others. He did however develop as a songwriter and revelled in his new found freedom following disbandment of the Beatles.

We are told about Harrison’s enthusiasm for charity work including his concert for Bangladesh which became the template for future charity gigs such as Live Aid. His ardent spirituality was also spoken about and how this affected his life following his career with the Beatles into his solo career and work with films and other ventures.

The set is very simple allowing the focus to remain on the music and storytelling being presented. A picture of George Harrison smiling down at the performers on the back of the stage is all this is present in addition to the instruments. The damp evening and outdoor venue did cause some minor vocal issues on occasion, but this can be put down to the wet weather. Overall, the music is well performed, often with a new twist or reinterpretation, and the stories are interesting and told with passionate interest.

It is lovely to see Harrison’s repertoire performed by Taylor who is obviously very passionate about both his music and his life. In addition, Gladwin’s enthusiastic vocals and keyboard playing is a pleasure to see and Fellows is a talented guitarist who harmonises well with the other two members of the group.

Something about George is a nice look into the complexities of the life of one man who was entrenched in Beatlemania. It shows all of the sides of his personality not shying away from elements which could be seen as negative, covering his experiences with depression, drug use and infidelity, as well has his talent for song-writing and musical accomplishments. A number of fun and insightful anecdotes are related, and direct quotes are used to add colour and life to the story. A must see for any Beatle fan or anyone else interested in the history of music, this lovely show takes you on the rollercoaster ride of what you do with your life after being in all of the biggest bands in the world.

Reviewer: Donna M Day

Reviewed: 12th September 2021

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★