THE SIMON & GARFUNKEL STORY: Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, London
Adam Dickinson (Paul Simon) and Ashley Judd (Art Garfunkel): photo Hamish Gill

Stepping onto the dimly lit stage of London's Lyric Theatre, currently home to 'Thriller', two figures cast a silent, shadowy presence. The atmosphere was buzzing, with an audience full of expectancy and excitement. Lights lifted to offer the shining silhouette of Adam Dickinson (Paul Simon) and Kingsley Judd (Art Garfunkle) against a darkened background with only a small projector screen. This was their debut performance as the iconic duo Simon and Garfunkel and there are two more London performances to follow.

Not a tribute act but more an insight into and 'authentic tribute' to Simon and Garfunkel's musical journey and hugely talented development. Throughout the 2 hours 15 minutes we were treated to a delicious array of songs from their albums, each chronicling a stage in their lives against the setting of the times. With video projection casting newsreel footage and TV commercials reminding us of what life was like, each was placed firmly in context. Dickinson and Judd took pains to explain more fully at occasional junctures, making this more a quasi documentary rather than a biopic performance.

Supporting this talented pair were musicians Will Tucknell, Leon Camfield,Mat Swales and Kyla Brown who played with gusto and transparent joy. However, I more loved it when the boys sang acoustically rather than being accompanied and sometimes overpowered. Judd's 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' was spine tingling and you could have heard a pin drop in the silence of the auditorium, where many an attendee dabbed at their eye.

So there we are, childhood friends influenced by the rock music of the day to the wonderful folk legends that they became. From their humble beginnings as Tom and Jerry to their incredible global fame and the legendary reunion concert in New York's Central Park, which played to 50,000 fans. And then to their separation of ways where each followed their own path.

This was an evening of pure nostalgia, of memories where each of us was lost in thought according to the track and our own life experiences. And Dickinson and Judd did not let us down. They played with integrity and respect to the famous duo who have made such a mark on music and the world. Earlier songs and lesser known ones were included but there is no doubt that it was numbers such as 'Homeward Bound','I Am A Rock', 'Scarborough Fair', 'A Hazy Shade of Winter', 'The Sound of Silence' and 'The Boxer', (amongst many others) that truly resonated with the audience who devoured each and hungered for more. Yes, we all sang quietly along, faultlessly remembering the brilliant lyrics and relishing the memories. Perhaps we did not join in as much as the amiable pair would have wanted but that was only because we were having a ball listening and luxuriating in the songs.
Ending with a well deserved encore for this likeable duo who had brought to the stage the story of Simon and Garfunkel,all left with smiles on their faces and songs in their hearts. 

Of course not everything could be included and of course they were not the 'real thing' but this was never their intent and the two performers made that very clear. But given that it is unlikely that we will ever see Simon and Garfunkel perform together again this is a very enjoyable production. So, if you fancy a delightful evening with memories of days gone by when flowers were worn in our hair and protests were the right of the young, pop along to the Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, London on Monday 20th May or Monday 24th June when Dickinson and Judd will lead you through 'The Simon & Garfunkel Story'. But do book as there was not a spare seat to be had.




Monday 20 May at 7.30pm 

Monday 24 June at 7.30pm

Running time: 2hrs 15mins including interval

Tickets from £15

All tickets include a £1.25 Theatre Restoration Levy 

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