Simon and Garfunkel Through the Years at theSpace @ Symposium Hall (Venue 43) is one of the great successes of The Edinburgh Fringe and playing to capacity audiences every night in its run. Last year’s Fringe was also a huge success for this show and the reason is simple – two great performers collectively known as “Bookends” - singer Pete Richards and singer/guitarist Dan Haynes who have known one another since their first year at secondary school and over the years shared a mutual love for the music of Simon and Garfunkel.
Taking their name from the fourth studio album by Simon and Garfunkel, this show is, as it should be, very basic – nothing except Pete and Dan and the music. By their own admission, they look nothing like their musical heroes, and make no attempt to do so (unlike other Simon and Garfunkel tribute bands out there). The one thing they do, however, have in common with the real thing is beautiful close harmony vocals over a deceptively well played guitar, plus that warmth and humour with one another that only two people (like the originals) who have known one another for a long time can have. That warmth and humour is also shared with the audience. A backdrop of photos and film of the real Simon and Garfunkel adds a bit of background history to the story.
This show is actually a shortened one hour Fringe version of their larger two hour show (that played over the road at the far larger Festival Theatre earlier this year), but there is still time to pack in classics that included “The Boxer”, “Sound of Silence”, “Mrs Robinson”, “Homeward Bound” and more...and their own version of “Bridge Over Troubled Water”. It was refreshing to hear this last song sung as it should be – softly with feeling and attention to the lyrics, and not as many singers seem to want to do – destroy it by singing as loud and powerfully as they can.
Paul Simon is a master story teller in his songs, and the stripped back and honest presentation of his words by Dan and Pete let the words of the songs speak for themselves. The music of Simon and Garfunkel always had an older more at times English Folk music feel to it, and the lyrics were never so firmly rooted in Americana, open roads, railroads and bars as that of some musicians such as Woody Guthrie, and this is perhaps why their music has such an international appeal to it.
Dan and Pete are on tour after this Fringe run and return to The Festival Theatre on 27 January 2017. Check here for more details
For more information on Bookends visit
This is just simply a great show with no gimmicks whatsoever. These guys really can deliver the goods. This show is a surprise hit, and I think two of the people most surprised by its success are Dan and Pete themselves.
Dan and Pete from "Bookends" were kind enough to give us a little bit of their free time for an interview. You can read it here.
DAN & PETE "BOOKENDS" INTERVIEW
Review by Tom King & Lisa Sibbald