West End star’s ‘labour of love’ comes to Langholm

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Dean Elliot played the eponymous lead in Buddy: The Musical during a two-year run in London’s West End before taking the award-winning show on tour to America, Canada and Europe.

“The highlight was performing in Buddy Holly’s hometown of Lubbock, Texas – a truly moving experience,” recalled Elliot this week.

But for the past three years, the charismatic 34-year-old has thrown all his artistic energies into one project dear to his heart – a spectacular and authentic homage to his musical heroes Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel.

The result – The Simon and Garfunkel Story – which Elliot wrote with director David Beck, began a hugely successful UK tour in January this year.

With rave reviews for its sensitive reading of songs which helped define a generation – all realised with the help of high production values, projection screens and a superb live band – it was no surprise when London’s theatreland again came calling on Elliot.

In February next year, The Simon and Garfunkel Story will duly begin its run at the Leicester Square Theatre – 50 years after the duo recorded their first single, Sound of Silence.

But before that, Border devotees are in for a real treat with the show playing for one night only at the Buccleuch Centre in Langholm on Friday, November 28.

“It’s the last Scottish date before we prepare for the West End and I can’t tell you how much we are looking forward to it,” Elliot told the Southern this week.

“Although I’ve not been to Langholm before, I’ve heard the theatre has a real intimate vibe which will really suit the show.

“Although going on to be megastars, it’s worth remembering that Simon and Garfunkel cut their teeth on the American folk scene of the early sixties, playing small clubs and honing their craft – that’s where our story really begins.”

The show then charts the phenomenally productive five years from 1965 when the pair posted a barrage of worldwide hits, including I Am a Rock, Homeward Bound, Scarborough Fair, Mrs Robinson, Cecilia, The Boxer and Bridge Over Trouble Water – the timeless title track from an album which outsold all others in the two years after the duo split in 1970.

The production, which Elliot admits is “part-concert” does not shy away from the highs and lows of what was often a fraught relationship, but it ends triumphantly with a recreation of the famous 1981 reunion concert in New York’s Central Park in front of 500,000 fans.

Dean Elliot, who plays singer/songwriter Simon, graduated from the Paul McCartney-founded Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts and paid his dues in provincial musical theatre before getting his big break with Buddy.

“That was a terrific experience, but this new show is something special – more a labour of love because Paul Simon’s songs mean so much to me,” he told us.

For booking information on what looks certain to be a hot ticket, call the Buccleuch Centre box office on 013873 81196.