Dave Jay’s “johnpaulgeorgeringo” is a real treasure for dedicated Beatles fans.
For a little over an hour, Jay succeeds in entertaining the audience seated in the tiny 13th Street Repertory Company theater by himself, with spot-on Beatles impressions, fun musical performances and a ridiculously extensive knowledge of the Fab Four. The homey theater across from 13th Street residence hall gives off a comfortable, welcoming vibe. The show begins with the lights down and a soundtrack of frantically screaming girls, turning the time back to Feb. 9, 1964: the Beatles’ very first appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” Jay arrives in their debut outfit, with the famous black trousers, leather shoes, turtleneck and, of course, the legendary haircut.
After his performance of “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” he sits down on a stool and pours a cup of tea. Immediately, John Lennon is reborn right in front of your eyes. Jay’s unbelievably precise and convincing impersonations – down to their distinct Liverpool accents, postures, and hand and body movements – bring the Beatles to life on stage. As he introduces them one by one, he also tells the story behind a song each of them wrote. Then he performs each song, inviting the audience to sing along. Interjecting humor, Jay performs some great songs, such as “In My Life,” “Hello, Goodbye,” “Revolution,” “Drive My Car,” “Here Comes the Sun,” “Norwegian Wood,” “Octopus’s Garden” and “ObLa-Di, Ob-La-Da.” Afterward, he prompts the audience to ask “The Beatles” questions. Here, he really proves himself as a talented and quick-minded performer, instantaneously taking on the facade of the Beatle to whom the question is asked.
Jay shows his audacity during this Q-and-A: He fields any inquiry, each time quickly providing a plausible answer or at least conjuring a humorous cover. Watching Jay transform between Beatles and converse among them – speaking as John, then switching instantly to Paul to add a side-comment, then changing back to John for a witty response – is theatrical bedazzlement at its best.
Without question, johnpaulgeorgeringo is a show for the devoted Beatles fans, but it might fall flat for those who lack extensive knowledge of the band’s history and music (or, for that matter, their love affairs, rumors and distinct personalities). And you can’t sing along if you don’t know the words! But if you’ re looking for a delightful taste of the monumental band, a fun musical show and a staggering improvisational performance, check out johnpaulgeorgeringo this weekend, with a special “John Lennon’s Birthday” show on Friday.