Here’s to you, Simon & Garfunkel

The Simon & Garfunkel Story
The Simon & Garfunkel Story

It’s been 50 years since folk/rock duo Simon and Garfunkel recorded their first number one hit single, ‘The Sound of Silence’.

And now a live stage show celebrating their lives and careers is doing the rounds of theatres across the UK.

‘The Simon and Garfunkel Story’ has been entertaining audiences south of the border for a year, but 2015 sees it venture north and come to Fife.

The show is at Rothes Halls in Glenrothes on Friday, February 20.

And this week the man who plays Paul Simon took time out to speak to the Press ahead of the tour.

Dean Elliott, who previously took on the role of Buddy Holly in ‘Buddy The Musical’, said he is “really excited” about the forthcoming show.

He said: “I’ve been to Fife a few times now.

“I actually did panto in Kirkcaldy as one of my first jobs back in 2005.

“I was in Cinderella at the Adam Smith Theatre.

“And I took Buddy the Musical up there a few times.

“This show is incredible, it’s such a great show.

“And this is the first time the story has ever been told in Scotland.

“I think we are all really excited and looking forward to it.

“We are finishing our run in the West End and taking the show on a tour of concert halls in Scotland.”

The production takes the audience on a journey through the 1960s.

“The show has a huge projection screen and a full cast of performers,” said Dean.

“It means we are able to tell many different parts of the story.

“It runs chronologically much like ‘Buddy’ does.

“It starts with them meeting and playing as rock n roll duo ‘Tom and Jerry’ and it goes through all their hit albums, talking about their break up, how they broke up and why they broke up.

“It finishes with the 1981 reformation concert in Central Park, so it ends with a feel good concert.

“One thing we did realise fairly early on in production and rehearsals is because we have the projection screen, not only can we tell their story but we can cover more of the time as well.

“ Simon and Garfunkel covered the whole of the 60s and we can very much talk about the 60s.

“A lot happened and it was a very important time for political and social change. It’s a much bigger picture that was happening around them.”

The show features both original photos and film footage whilst a full live band perform all their hits including ‘Mrs Robinson’, ‘Cecilia’, ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’, ‘Homeward Bound’, ‘Sound of Silence’ and many more.

Creating ‘The Simon and Garfunkel Story’ was something that Dean was keen to do as an avid fan of the duo.

He said: “It was me who came up with the idea.

“I have always been a fan of the duo and I always wanted to perform their music.

“Doing ‘Buddy’ I thought, ‘you know what, I think this could work’.

“We have a creative team behind us and a really wonderul cast and it’s taken off in a way I never thought it would.”

Performing the Simon and Garfunkel hits on a daily basis, are there any favourites from their catalogue that stand out for Dean?

“The moment we kick into Cecilia with everyone playing percussion and the audience clapping along, there’s nothing like that sensation,” he said.

“The show goes from third to fifth gear very quickly.

“The encore, we come on and Jonny Smart, our Art Garfunkel who is incredible, comes out and effortlessly sings ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’, then we finish with The Boxer.

“It’s really fun to experience that and it’s a reward for the audience. As a musician the music is great. It’s really fun.

“It’s not too dissimilar to when I was doing Buddy.

“It’s timeless music that as an actor or singer you rarely get to play those songs.”

The Simon and Garfunkel Story opened at the Swan Theatre in High Wycombe about a year ago and since then the production has gone from strength to strength.

So what is it about the music created by Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel that has kept it alive and still popular among the masses today?

“I think it’s still popular for a few reasons,” said Dean.

“For one there’s the incredible song writing.

“Paul Simon is arguably in the top five greatest song writers of all time.

“He’s up there with the likes of Paul McCartney.

“Secondly I think there’s when Simon and Garfunkel started they were going against the grain a little bit.

“Anytime a band or musician goes against the grain at the time they stand out.

“I think with Simon and Garfunkel in their own way they were talking about what was happening around them.

“And it came at a time when the likes of The Beatles were releasing songs like ‘She Loves You’.

“Suddenly Simon and Garfunkel started writing songs that weren’t happy pop songs but were meaningful.

“I think their songs stand out because they are wonderful songs that are different.”

The Simon and Garfunkel Story comes to Rothes Halls, Glenrothes on Friday, February 20.