If you could see any band in the world, past or present, who would you choose? For many, the answer is The Beatles. While that may not actually be possible, Rain: A Tribute to The Beatles may just be the next best thing.
But Rain is not merely a tribute show – it has a unique concept. Instead of the band merely churning out songs in an indiscriminate order, they are arranged by era, with sets and costumes to match.
The show is a multimedia spectacle, which at first might seem like an odd idea for a 1960s tribute show, but it works. The graphics and videos used as backdrops effectively create an atmosphere of the time – from women fainting at Shea Stadium, to bombs dropping, to psychedelic patterns and surreal images.
In this sense, Rain hovers somewhere between a theatre show and a rock concert. The visual grandeur of it all is definitely characteristic of theatre, but the songs get the audience on their feet – certainly not something you’d see at your average theatre show.
What is impressive about the band is its dedication to flawlessly imitating every nuance of the original music and vocals of The Beatles. It is clear that each band member is not only musically gifted but also dedicated to perfect imitation. For example, Mac Ruffing is actually right-handed but taught himself to play bass left-handed in order to play Paul McCartney authentically.
Of course, there are drawbacks to tackling the task of paying tribute to a band with such a huge catalogue – not every song can be played every night. Nonetheless, this is a small trade-off for the overall feeling you’re likely to leave the theatre with: the feeling that in some way, you now know The Beatles just that little bit better.
Rain runs until 4 September at the Teatro at Montecasino. Tickets range from R190 to R375 and can be booked at Computicket.
Photos: Ed Sullivan & Cylla von Tiedemann