A modern and immersive retelling of the story of Simon and Garfunkel’s divisive career, ‘The Simon & Garfunkel Story’ depicts the infamous duo’s journey through time in their music, backdropped with commentaries of cultural liveliness through the decades. Natalie Howarth reviews.
Following sold-out performances in the West End and worldwide, The Simon and Garfunkel Story made its way to the Nottingham Playhouse, another unsurprising sold-out show! The evening started off with an apt and engaging performance of one of their most famous songs, The Sound of Silence, singing the first verse in the darkness before being illuminated by the stage lighting for the chorus. The audience roared with anticipation of the duo’s reveal that resounded in the emotive folk and tenor voices of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel.
I’m not the biggest fan of audience anticipation in the theatre, however, it was entertaining to see everyone involved
The performance tracks the musical relationship between Simon & Garfunkel after tumultuous times caused by distance from each other, after Paul’s move to England. Other complications are also communicated through their songs with accompanying images and clips on the large screen, ranging from scenes of 1968 Woodstock to the highly anticipated 1981 Central Park reunion concert.
A wonderful setlist mixed with softer tracks and lively well-known classics, the audience was happily singing along to songs like Cecilia, Mrs Robinson, The Boxer, Bridge over Troubled Water, and many more while being encouraged to clap by Art Garfunkel’s actor, Kingsley Judd. I’m not often the biggest fan of audience anticipation in the theatre yet here it was entertaining to see everyone involved.
Despite the imitation of the most successful folk, singer-songwriter duo in the world, I enjoyed that they weren’t trying to be them but rather acting as storytellers to such a successful history. It did not have the cringe quality that sometimes comes with acts who imitate every defining feature of the actors, including the accents. I’m glad the actors remained themselves to achieve an educational perspective rather than how well they can make themselves seem like the duo.
A truly unique performance that was highly engaging throughout, receiving large standing ovations, and The Simon and Garfunkel Story was an unforgettable piece of musical drama. The duo are not as popular with younger generations and with the rise of musical documentaries (for example, The Beatles’ Get Back documentary), I think they are still as relevant today and have paved the way for many modes of modern music.
Featured image courtesy of Alex Watkin. Permission to use granted to Impact. No changes were made to this image.
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