Jamie Hendry is just about to launch a new staging of Tim Firth play, Neville’s Island, in the West End - with a cast starring top TV funny men, Neil Morrissey, Miles Jupp, Robert Webb and Adrian Edmondson.
“There are four men, on an island and there’s a lot of water in the theatre so that’s a challenge,” he says, matter of fact.
But when you’ve taken on and met the challenge of recreating the world’s most famous pop band, live on stage, then perhaps recreating the Lake District is not such a daunting prospect.
Jamie Hendry Productions is the company behind Let It Be, which opens at the Opera House on Tuesday, running until October 12.
The show, billed as a ‘spectacular theatrical concert’, features more than 40 of The Beatles’ greatest hits, charting their meteoric rise from Liverpool’s Cavern Club, to the heights of Beatlemania, and their later studio masterpieces - even taking on songs which the fans never had an opportunity to see live.
And with the potential for flooding a West End theatre, you’d be forgiven for thinking Jamie might not be too concerned about Let It Be, which has been running in the West End, on UK and international tours since 2012.
But the excitement of bringing the show to a new venue and fresh audience keeps it fresh.
“Let it Be is very close to my heart, after working on it and running it for three years now,” the producer said.
“It does it’s own thing in the West End, but every tour city is different and while the reaction is always good - it is different. It’s very different in Liverpool to, for example, Brighton, and we’ve never been to Blackpool so are looking forward to it.”
The Opera House plays its own role in The Beatles’ story, they played twice at the resort venue within just three weeks during the summer of 1964, and they were hosted in the resort on several occasions the previous year too.
So the Let It Be team looks forward to treading the same boards as the Fab Four.
“When we first opened in the Prince Of Wales Theatre in the West End it was 50 years since they played on that actual stage,” said Jamie.
“Going to places where they played and recreating that journey has been fantastic.
“Plus, people forget they didn’t play live after 1967, and a lot of songs which a younger generation knows they never had a chance to perform live - the second half of our show is a Beatles’ show you never got to see.”
Stepping away from shows which were recorded allows the cast additional artistic licence, while remaining faithful to the sound and living up to the expectations of the fans.
“The more you think about recreating these characters the more daunting it gets,” Jamie added, “but we don’t look at it like recreating four of the greatest musicians ever seen - but recreating the music and taking an audience back to that time.”
While Blackpool will be Jamie’s destination for opening night on Tuesday, the show will also be opening in Singapore on the same date - replicating the international mega-stardom The Beatles experienced.
“The Beatles were huge in the US, and part of the show looks at that time, and they were massive in the Far East with Let It Be having regularly played in Japan, Singapore and Malaysia, and we’re looking into China for next year,” Jamie said. “It’s one of those shows you don’t have to look at translating and that helps set us apart in the West End, as well as around the world.
“There’s a phenomenal reaction overseas. In Japan it was incredible, the cast were treated like royalty - like the real Beatles.”
While, like the recent Opera House box office summer smash hit Mamma Mia, Let It Be taps into a certain nostalgia and celebration of an iconic act, Jamie is keen to stress there’s a different appeal – and the two shows are not comparable in other ways.
“Let It Be isn’t a musical, it’s a theatrical concert, telling a story through a timeline, with music, video and multi-media,” he explained.
“We decided early on, we wouldn’t try and fit something fictional around the music - it wouldn’t have done the music or The Beatles’ story justice.”
And issuing a challenge to the Blackpool audience, Jamie added: “We are delighted to be coming to Blackpool, and if we get the reception we would like - we would love to make it return next year.”
n Let It Be, Opera House, Blackpool, Tuesday, September 30 to Sunday, October 12. Go to www.blackpoollive.co.uk for tickets.
n Read Anna’s interview with the cast of Let It Be in next week’s Gazette