Dan Haynes and Pete Richards of Bookends have returned to the Fringe to once again give us their mesmerising renditions of some of Simon and Garfunkel’s most beloved songs. Documentary footage projected above the artists tells us the story of Simon and Garfunkel’s partnership and Haynes and Richards add to this with some nice anecdotes.
So powerful are these artists’ renditions that if you’re a fan of Simon and Garfunkel, you’d be a fool to miss Bookends’ live performance.
It’s remarkable. Haynes and Richards probably sound more like Simon and Garfunkel then the actual men do now in their old age. Close your eyes and you’d think you’d gone back in time, so much do these men sonically resemble their icons. The pair’s often unique variations of the songs are highly enjoyable, with notable alterations to the studio recordings – Haynes and Richards have tried to recreate the sounds of Simon and Garfunkel as they would have been when performing in tours; playing acoustically and making variations to the originals.
It’s incredible to hear these live renditions, but what is missing from the performance is a level of showmanship and even a sense of fun. There’s an overly serious tone to proceedings. This is probably to be expected, considering the use of documentary footage, and the highly emotive sounds of Simon and Garfunkel’s repertoire itself. But it seems so serious.
You almost feel so afraid to make a sound that you dare not move. When I did move and whisper to the person with me, I was stared at by the person in front of me. Indeed the entire audience seemed to want merely to listen, almost as you would a sermon.
It's respectable, but seems overly severe – the pair go to great lengths to recreate the sound of Simon and Garfunkel live. It seems a bit of a shame we don’t get some of that magical atmosphere with it; surely to recreate the sounds of this iconic duo performing live, the event should at least feel a bit like a gig as opposed to a music lecture. The venue doesn’t exactly help here, being a lecture hall. You might be forgiven for thinking: why not just listen to a CD of the original men? But so powerful are these artists’ renditions that if you’re a fan of Simon and Garfunkel, you’d be a fool to miss Bookends’ live performance.
The arrangements and the story they weave along with the documentary footage provide a wonderful narrative to the careers of Simon and Garfunkel, and nowhere else are you be able to hear these songs performed so majestically for an affordable and reasonable price. These are timeless and emotive songs and ultimately, the Bookends pair do them incredible justice.