Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

In Harmony with the Art of Legendary Singing Duo; the Music of Simon and Garfunkel Will Be Heard at the Seaside This Weekend, as DAVID WHETSTONE Explains

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

In Harmony with the Art of Legendary Singing Duo; the Music of Simon and Garfunkel Will Be Heard at the Seaside This Weekend, as DAVID WHETSTONE Explains

Article excerpt

IT won't be the real Simon and Garfunkel treading the boards in Whitley Bay this week but arguably, in The Simon and Garfunkel Story, you will get more for your money. Dean Elliott, who devised the show and also plays one of the famous pair, says: "I wasn't going to be Paul Simon. I'd decided I just fancied looking after the show and producing it.

"But I also wanted to be the music director because I love the music so much. Usually that job means sitting at a piano and playing some chords but because it's guitar-led I listened closely to what Paul Simon was doing.

"He was the lead singer on 70% of the songs while Art Garfunkel did the harmonies. I ended up with a really good grasp of all Paul Simon's guitar and vocal intricacies.

"The director said, 'You sound like him and you can clearly act. Why don't you do it?'" Dean didn't take too much persuading, although he says: "I'm probably a bit too tall really. But that's OK because the guy playing Art Garfunkel is also a bit too tall so we're in proportion."

There you go - more body for your buck! Instead of a Simon and Garfunkel standing about 5ft 5ins and 5ft 10ins (according to Dean's estimation) you get a version that stands 5ft 8ins and 6ft.

Although because of the complex rules governing such matters, the pair don't call themselves Simon and Garfunkel on stage.

In that sense, Dean explains, this show is more like Mamma Mia! (which has Abba songs but not Abba) than Buddy, a show which has the blessing of the late singer's family.

In The Simon and Garfunkel Story you'll get the songs, the story and the slightly-too-lanky lookalikes but it treads a fine line.

Dean is the show's most assiduous promoter - along with almost everything else, it seems. So he's best placed to explain how it came about.

"I was playing Buddy Holly in Buddy the musical for many years - a little while ago now, but it was a great experience and it opened a lot of doors for me. I've always been a massive fan of music and stories. I love storytelling.

"I was going through my CD collection one afternoon. I'm a massive fan of Simon and Garfunkel - I've got all five albums - and I thought: do you know what? There's enough music here to make a musical.

"I went back to my dressing room and was chatting to the guy I shared with and he said, 'What's their story? Didn't they fall out? What happened?' I thought that was a good starting point.

"Not many people really know what happened between them. I thought I'd do some research and what I found I thought would make a great story."

Dean, who is speaking to me from his home in Malvern, Worcestershire, says: "This is not a tribute act. It's a theatrical progress through their life and illustrious careers. We talk about the break-up and their reformation concert in 1981 in Central Park. …

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