Simon and Garfunkel’s music has been celebrated all over the world. Throughout the 60s, they became a prominent duo and icon of youth counterculture and properly popularised folk rock. The Simon and Garfunkel Story is a tribute to their music, and gives us a brief insight into how the two came to go down in music history.
Upon entering the Grand Opera House, York, I was picturing the production to be a bit like Buddy: the Buddy Holly Story, where the audience is taken on a journey through the artist’s life and the stories behind their music and legacy. I have to admit that I was slightly let down when I realised this wasn’t the case with The Simon and Garfunkel Story. Rather than acting out scenes from the duo’s life, performers Dean Elliott and David Tudor (Simon and Garfunkel respectively) simply play through a varied selection of their songs, occasionally slipping a brief bit of information to the audience. This, in addition to projections of images of the two over the years and of iconic historical moments, gives us a bit of context during the anecdotes and songs.
Praise must certainly go to Elliott and Tudor, who perform Simon and Garfunkel’s songs brilliantly – their harmonies are fantastic to listen to, closely replicating those of the originals. Their onstage energy is delightful to watch, as is the way they communicate with us as an audience. The three-piece band that backs them (consisting of Leon Camfield, Murray Gardiner and Josh Powell) also does a great job of bulking out Simon and Garfunkel’s many memorable tunes with raw musical energy.
Overall, there’s a nice atmosphere created by the group of performers on stage, and the simplistic lighting design helps to enhance this. What I’m not too sure about, however, is where the ‘story’ part of the show’s title comes in. Apart from the few brief sentences that Elliott and Tudor give us in the first half of the show, we’re never actually immersed in a narrative of any sort – we’re only immersed in the music. Elliott and Tudor never actually become Simon and Garfunkel as characters that we can connect and embark on a journey with. Even though the songs are all excellently performed, and the two performers deserve their standing ovation at the end, I don’t feel that this production is powerful enough to really tell us the story of such incredible musical icons.
Despite this, The Simon and Garfunkel Story makes for an enjoyable evening, whether you’re a seasoned fan of their music or someone looking for a unique way of getting into it. While I think this production would be even better if there were some stronger narrative elements to it, it does a good job of entertaining you and offering a small glimpse into the story of one of music’s most iconic duos.
The Simon and Garfunkel Story played at the Grand Opera House, York, and is currently touring the UK. For more information and tickets, visit The Simon and Garfunkel Story website.