Review: Two Of Us at the Royal Court

Date: 19/02/2023

A Beatles-themed musical-cum-concert? In Liverpool? At the Royal Court? You can’t go wrong really.

If the Court is known for one thing it’s giving the audience a good time – and the cast frequently look like they’re enjoying themselves just as much. So it proves with Two Of Us, a walk down the Beatles’ very own memory lane punctuated with Fab Four standouts; from Woolton Church Fete to the top of the Apple building.

Tom Connor as Paul has all the trademark ‘wooo’s, eye pops and ‘o’ mouths that are synonymous with Macca and certainly has a look of the Beatles bassist. He keeps it the right side of parody and pastiche and it’s an engrossing performance that he never lets drop.

Dress rehearsal for “Two of Us” a Lennon & McCartney at the Royal Court Theatre, Liverpool. Picture Jason Roberts

Playing bass left-handed and guitar right handed (not to mention the piano with both hands) shows off his all-round talent as he pulls off the rockers and slower numbers with relish, Hey Jude being particularly memorable.

With back-up from Ben Gladwin, Greg Joy, Adam Keast and Mike Woodvine the six present a veritable wall of sounds, while some rear-projected cine footage and the odd, droll interjection from George Martin round out the experience.

Mark Newnham as John is less obviously physically similar, but his singing has that Lennon twang (he also gets to roll out a couple of famous Lennon one-liners). The build to the climax of A Day In The Life really gives him a chance to shine and brings down the curtain on a thrilling first half that includes Please Please Me, Ticket To Ride and In My Life.

Two Of Us Royal Court

The second half is, by dint of the Beatles catalogue and decline in their relationships, a more sombre affair and it’s here that the narrative – for what it’s worth – gives up the ghost somewhat.

The linking narration, sparse at the best of times, rather fades away but it does set up the performance for a stunning rendition of Paul’s singalong tune written for Julian Lennon. For the vast majority it’s perhaps the closest any of us will get to seeing Lennon and McCartney play live.

Bob Eaton and Mark McGann’s creation should please every Beatles fan going – and no one watching will have any complaints. What is on show here is two incredible talents. And they’re playing two incredible talents. Fitting really.

Two Of Us
Royal Court
Until 25 February

• Images: Jason Roberts Photography