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The beat goes on.

I'M standing on a central London rooftop watching as four musicians - perspiring gently in suits and under moptop haircuts - belt out Twist and Shout for a camera-phone wielding audience.

It's a bit different to the last time the 'Beatles' took to the rooftops.

There's the technology for one thing. And this Fab Four's set (a blast through Day Tripper, Let It Be, Revolution and of course Get Back) isn't interrupted by plod pulling the plug.

It's 43 years since their Savile Row appearance, and 50 since the Beatles' first hit Love Me Do - and the golden landmark is being celebrated by the opening of a new show in London this month.

Let It Be is at the Prince of Wales theatre where John Lennon famously encouraged the well-to-do Royal Variety Performance audience to "rattle your jewellery" - an exciting prospect for the two sets of 'Beatles' signed up to play the band.

"The Queen Mother, Lennon, the speech, it's a pleasure to play there," says Stephen Hill, one of the George Harrisons and the only cast member to come through open auditions held at the Cavern.

The rest were picked at London heats and from videos submitted to a website. Slightly embarrassingly, there isn't a single Liverpudlian among them, although there is an Italian - the genial Emanuelle 'Manny' Angeletti who performs with his band The Apple Pies at home near Rome, and is fulfilling a childhood dream to play Paul McCartney.

Stephen, from Wolverhampton, will be well known to Liverpool Beatles fans however, as he's appeared with several of the city's tribute bands including the Complete Beatles, Blue Meanies and Cavern Club band.

"It's crazy, it's been a lot of hard work to get to this stage," says the 30-year-old, who will play alongside Manny, Reuven Gershon as John and Gordon Elsmore as Ringo Starr.

"They shipped us off to Beatle bootcamp. We had a month in the States and Canada just to rehearse and we've got a couple of weeks' dress rehearsals in London. The show is there, we've just got to get used to doing it in the Prince of Wales.

"The Beatles are my favourite group of all time, and George is my favourite Beatle."

Producer Jamie Hendry is convinced the show will be the definitive story of the biggest band in the world.

And there will be no 'messing with the music' he promises.

He explains: "We call the show a theatrical concert, it's not a musical. It's on stage, it's a theatre, there's a lot of video and multimedia, there's a lot of audience interaction.

"It's the closest thing you'll see to the Beatles playing live that unless you're quite old now you didn't see. We have a lot of rights to early footage. We've recreated a lot of video. The costumes are fantastic.

"It's not a new idea but it's the first time all the rights have been granted in this fashion."

As for the band, they weren't looking for lookalikes as much as "guys who could recreate every nuance and movement. It's not about anything but the music."

"It's like messing with the Gospel," adds Stephen. "If it's not done right it's going to sound like a sack of spanners. It's got to be the Beatles for two hours. You've got to believe you're seeing the Beatles.

"I just hope everybody enjoys it."

? Let It Be is at the Prince of Wales Theatre from September 14 to January 19.


ROOFTOP FUN: The cast of Let It Be prepare for the show's opening
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Sep 3, 2012
Previous Article:Hillsborough remembered on stage.

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