It’s a clever title for a clever show. The pun refers to changing the beat of Beatles tracks. It’s also a nod to the purists who feel that doing so is sacrilege (and yes, they’re out there). Purists be damned. Watt’s show reimagines brilliant songs to keep them fresh, in this case with jazz twists and slight lyrical changes.

Watt and her talented Fab 4 band (pianist David Goodwin, saxophonist Christina Guala-Goodwin, bass player Declan Horan and drummer Lewis Todd) began their Cabaret Fringe show with a high-energy version of “Can’t Buy Me Love”, jazzified but still recognisable.

In this highly interactive performance, Watt chatted with the audience, asking them to tell their love stories and if they’d seen The Beatles in Adelaide in ’64. In between songs, the 19-year-old from Port Lincoln revealed more about herself.

The song selection was good, and the ludicrously catchy “I’ve Just Seen a Face” featured the dazzling ivory-tickling skills of Watt’s co-arranger, David Goodwin.

The third number, “Got to Get You into My Life”, showcased Watt’s powerhouse voice and morphed into a great version of “I Want You”. Yet part of the singer’s charm is her vulnerability, such as when she says she’s never been in love. This may explain why in “Got to Get You into My Life”, her attitude behind the story she was singing wasn’t so clear. Some vocal light and shade would have worked well, even in some of The Beatles belters.

An effective aspect of Watt’s performance is the way in which she changes the perspective of the personas in some of the songs. In an exciting rendition of “A Hard Day’s Night” (Dionne Warwick’s version), she became the lover, empathising with her hard-working man.

From this point on, the subtleties of her voice emerged. The show then went from being very good to transcendent at times, such as in a chill-out version of George Harrison’s “Something”. When she sang “Golden Slumbers”, Watt had found her stride; her vocals were sublime. Ditto for “Carry that Weight”.

After revealing she was unpopular at school, Watt said she could relate to John Lennon’s “Don’t Let Me Down”. With the audience knowing this context, and Watt feeling the story in the song, this subtle and heartfelt performance of a sweet arrangement really hit the mark.

Then came “I Saw Her Standing There”, sung with a dash of Amy Winehouse, and with Watt as the her in question. A stirring version of “She Loves You” also put the singer front and centre: “I think I’ve lost my love …”

Aptly, “Come Together” was the final song, for it has a jazz kinship – Lennon’s nonsensical lyrics could pass for scatting with actual words.

Charlee Watt already shines brightly, and more life experience will only increase her wattage.

Beating Up The Beatles was presented at The Ballroom @ Carclew House as part of the Cabaret Fringe Festival.

Make a comment View comment guidelines

Support local arts journalism

Your support will help us continue the important work of InReview in publishing free professional journalism that celebrates, interrogates and amplifies arts and culture in South Australia.

Donate Here

. You are free to republish the text and graphics contained in this article online and in print, on the condition that you follow our republishing guidelines.

You must attribute the author and note prominently that the article was originally published by InReview.  You must also inlude a link to InReview. Please note that images are not generally included in this creative commons licence as in most cases we are not the copyright owner. However, if the image has an InReview photographer credit or is marked as “supplied”, you are free to republish it with the appropriate credits.

We recommend you set the canonical link of this content to to insure that your SEO is not penalised.

Copied to Clipboard