x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Dubai gets ready to twist and shout to celebrate 50 years of The Beatles

With celebrations all over the world this year, Dubai has its own plans to honour The Beatles and their enduring influence.

The Beatles perform on the Ed Sullivan Show in New York in 1964. Dan Grossi / AP Photo
The Beatles perform on the Ed Sullivan Show in New York in 1964. Dan Grossi / AP Photo

Fifty years ago, four lads from Liverpool with mop-top haircuts came on to the popular culture scene and revolutionised music. With celebrations all over the world this year, Dubai also plans to honour The Beatles and their enduring influence

They say it’s your birthday

The Beatles’ 50th anniversary is being marked around the world with various events this year, including a musical tribute in Dubai. The theatre director Duck Chowles (Under African Skies, Rock on Beethoven) is bringing The Fab Four: Music of The Beatles to Madinat Jumeirah from September 6 to 8.

All you need is love

“I had the idea of creating something beautiful to honour The Beatles for a long time,” says Chowles, who is from South Africa and, in fact, the first single he ever bought was their song Come Together. “After several trials and endless practices, the show was born in 2000. Ever since, it has been running on and off for 12 years.”

The most challenging part of putting the show together was organising the song list in an order that would allow for the “magic” to flow.

The Beatles’ magic was not just because they had a record 27 Number 1 UK and US singles and sold more than 700 million albums. The reason why the band’s music is timeless, Chowles believes, is because they “did everything in pop music before anyone else”.

“They were the first at everything that really mattered back then and still have priceless value.”

All together now

The evening will start with the cast in suits and mop-tops performing the early hits before progressing to the Sgt Pepper’s era with their trademark colourful uniforms. One of the main ideas behind the show is to pay tribute to the late John Lennon and George Harrison. During the second half of the show, expect a few surprises with some unexpected new arrangements of famous songs.

“If our show will inspire the audience and will leave a good memory in people’s hearts, it would mean that the Liverpudlians will always be remembered,” Chowles says.

“I believe their story is a great example of a journey to success through hard work, dedication, massive talent and a bit of luck. The fact that they spent those early years in Hamburg, Germany, playing in unknown clubs and polishing their craft, already gives their story a lot of depth.”

With a little help from my friends

To make the show as realistic as possible, Chowles found a strong cast and used fewer “gimmicks”, focusing more attention on the performance itself, making it simply about the music.

“Myself and the guitarist Andy Murray were able to get the correct harmony blend that is so important in a Beatles tribute. The rest of the cast were selected one by one. The female vocalist Celeste Ribeiro from Dubai, who appears as a guest singer, is adding a special vibe to the whole -performance.”

Judging from past shows, the Tina Turner version of Help has proved to be a show stopper, with Hey Jude also an audience -favourite.

With the success of shows such as the recent sold out Under African Skies, Chowles and his team, who currently run several shows at a time in South Africa, are planning to bring more productions to Dubai in the near future.

And in the end

The Fab Four: Music of the Beatles starts on September 6 and 7 at 8pm and on September 8 at 7pm at the First Group Theatre, Madinat Jumeirah. Tickets cost Dh185 and are available at the First Group Theatre box office.  For more information, call 04 366 6546 or visit www.madinattheatre.com for more details.

melshoush@thenational.ae