Last night, I had the pleasure of attending Rain: A Tribute to The Beatles: The Best of Abbey Road, Performed Live, a concert in the form of a show, at the Durham Performing Arts Center. Rain: A Tribute to The Beatles, presented as part of WRAL Greatest Hits of Broadway at DPAC, takes the DPAC audience for a well-produced tour of the 1960’s through the voices of the most important band in music history.
This is a trickier review than most, because there is no real choreography, minimal direction, and minimal dialog. Additionally, the singer/actors/instrumentalists are playing real people, so it’s a bit difficult to focus in on what exactly you are judging.
Five extremely talented performers make up Rain, who are presenting themselves pretty much as The Beatles, the Fab Four rock-and-roll group from Liverpool who took the world by storm in the early 1960’s. Technically, they never referred to themselves as The Beatles or as John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, or Ringo Starr; but their costumes, mannerisms, and voices left no doubt who they were meant to be.
Steve Landes (John), Paul Curatolo (Paul), Alastar McNeil (George), and Aaron Chiazza (Ringo) channeled the bandmates (The Faux Four?); and Mark Beyer supported them on keyboards and synthesizer to simulate the deeper orchestration of The Beatles’ later work.
Quite simply, short of finding a time machine, this is as close as one can get to experiencing a live Beatles performance. Rain performed about three dozen numbers, still leaving out many standards. They performed the songs chronologically, with periodic costume changes showing The Beatles’ musical and sartorial evolution.
I did have a few issues, but most were minor. Behind the band was a multimedia screen that had some distracting moments, particularly in the second half of the show, during The Beatles’ more hallucinogenic period. The strobe effect was a bit much. Also, there was an occasional close-up showing of the band on the screen. It was usually a beat behind the performers, and it also made it clearer that these were not the actual Beatles.
One curiosity was that the advertising for this show focused specifically on the Abbey Road album. There was no mention of this in the program, and it appeared to be a misdirection of some sort. Sadly, the last portion of the second half did indeed include more Abbey Road songs, including several non-hits. They weren’t bad, but they weren’t “Hey Jude” either.
I would be remiss not to mention DPAC‘s COVID-19 requirements, as there were constant reminders that theater has changed. The back screen occasionally showed some crowd shots, and I found myself noticing those audience members who apparently were ignoring the mask requirement, even though the venue requires proof of vaccination and masks.
RAIN: A TRIBUTE TO THE BEATLES: THE BEST OF ABBEY ROAD, PERFORMED LIVE (In Person at 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 16th), presented as part of WRAL Greatest Hits of Broadway at DPAC (Durham Performing Arts Center in Durham). DIGITAL PROGRAM: https://issuu.com/dpac0/docs/rain_playbill_digital. TRAILERS: https://www.raintribute.com/rain/videos.html. DPAC NEWS RELEASE: https://www.dpacnc.com/news/detail/rain-a-tribute-to-the-beatles-returns-to-dpac-october-15-16-2021. OFFICIAL WEBSITE: https://www.raintribute.com/rain. DPAC COVID-19 REQUIREMENTS: https://www.dpacnc.com/events/vaccination-and-covid-19-test-requirements. TICKETS: $30 and up, plus taxes and ticket fees. Click here to buy tickets. GROUPS (10+ tickets): 919-680-2787, Groups@DPACnc.com, and https://www.dpacnc.com/events/groups-services. DIRECTIONS: https://www.dpacnc.com/plan-your-visit/directions. PARKING: https://www.dpacnc.com/plan-your-visit/parking. INFORMATION: 919-680-2787 or CustomerService@DPACnc.com. Susie Potter’s Review.
Robert O’Connell is a playwright, and has had dozens of productions and awards throughout the world. He has a MS degree in Management Systems Analysis. A lifelong educator, O’Connell has also published three novels at http://www.flashmobthenovel.com/ and two humor anthologies from his blog, https://thesmartestguyiknow.wordpress.com/. He and his wife have settled in Cary, NC. Click here to read his reviews for Triangle Review and Triangle Arts and Entertainment.