Beatles, Cirque together in film

LIZ BRAUN - Sun Media

, Last Updated: 6:45 AM ET

The Beatles and Las Vegas together in any sort of combination -- in the same sentence, even -- should be a sign that the end of the world is nigh.

Funny, then, how a documentary about just such a union can be so easy to watch.

All Together Now is a film about how the music of The Beatles and the gyrations of Cirque du Soleil are combined in a live Vegas show called Love.

The idea for this unexpected marriage of artists grew out of the friendship between the late George Harrison and Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte, who bonded over Grand Prix racing events.

The two men agreed that it would be very cool to create a show that featured the music of The Beatles and the complicated circus performances of Cirque, but it was a long road from friendship to fruition -- Harrison did not live long enough to see the final production.

Many, many thousands of others did, however, as the show opened in 2006 and continues to play at the Mirage Hotel in Vegas.

All Together Now is a documentary about the creation of the Vegas show. As you'd expect, the movie shows archival footage of the Beatles, present-day interviews with Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr and footage of the Cirque troupe putting the show together from start to finish.

The real stars of the movie, however, are Beatles' producer Sir George Martin and his son, Giles Martin, who worked shoulder to shoulder to ensure that the music for the show was perfect.

Composed new arrangement

The patrician Sir George (and his son) worked for 18 months going over the original Beatles masters, using current technology to reshape the work so that it fit the show and the space.

Sir George even wrote a new arrangement to accompany an alternative version of George Harrison's While My Guitar Gently Weeps, and the film shows the string players recording their part. It's a surprisingly moving sequence.

Beatles' widows Olivia Harrison and Yoko Ono are featured and interviewed in the film, with both women offering suggestions, asking hard questions and generally contributing to the final show. (Ono chews gum and makes notes during rehearsals, and has the good sense to object to a particularly literal and dopey interpretation of some lyrics.)

There is a bizarre moment in the movie when the camera picks out George Harrison in the Vegas theatre; it's his son Dhani, of course, but the 30-year-old looks exactly like his father did at the height of Beatlemania. Bit of a shock, that.

Nostalgia for The Beatles and for their '60s scene would be the main reason to see All Together Now.

A countdown to the opening of Love in Vegas goes right to the last hour before the sparkly premiere, but all that registers zero on the anticipation scale, despite all the celebs who turned up for the opening.

The snippets of the live show featured in this documentary make it look exactly as you might expect, in a Vegas kind of way, but that's not really the point.

What counts in All Together Now are the little moments away from the main action, such as Paul McCartney giving the Cirque performers a little pep talk.

"One day this will all seem like a long time ago," says the cute Beatle, "so savour the moment."

Well put, Sir Paul.

(This film is rated PG)


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