Shalom Life | March 06, 2015

Theatre Review: BACKBEAT

The musical about the birth of The Beatles is a crowd-pleaser.

By: Ilan Mester

Published: August 3rd, 2012 in Culture » Stage » Reviews

Theatre Review: BACKBEAT

Backbeat is not your average cookie-cutter musical. It’s bold, loud and gritty. And honestly, that’s the way it should be: the award-winning play tells the story of The Beatles before they became The Beatles. That means no stadium shows, millions of fans or enviable record deals.

The play -- on stage right now at Toronto’s Royal Alexandra Theatre -- follows The Beatles in the early 1960s as they make their way out of Liverpool and into Hamburg’s red light district in an attempt to make it big. But the band quickly realizes that it’s not easy to make a splash, let alone make a decent living as performers.

If you’re not a die-hard Beatles fan, you may be in for a surprise. The English rock band featured four members when it exploded on an international level. However, The Beatles actually started off with five members and Backbeat focuses on Stuart Sutcliffe -- the original bassist of the band who’s often refereed to as the “fifth Beatle.”

Although Paul McCartney and George Harrison are depicted in Backbeat, the show focuses on the relationship between Stuart (played by Nick Blood), his best friend John Lennon (Andrew Knott) and Stuart’s love interest, photographer Astrid Kirchherr (Isabella Calthorpe).

The casting of the play is just brilliant. The actors do such an amazing job at playing The Beatles; aside from looking the part, they’ve mastered everything from mannerisms to the way each Beatle speaks and sings. That being said, Knott definitely stands out, exuding charisma and stage presence as Beatles vocalist John Lennon. The fact that this production comes directly from London and that the lead actors are British adds that extra touch of authenticity to the play.

The set is dark and gritty to mimic a seedy district in Hamburg circa 1960s. However, the play is often times up-beat and there are a handful of laugh-out-loud moments. Backbeat isn’t a musical a la Jersey Boys or We Will Rock You -- the characters don’t just break into song and dance out of nowhere. Every time The Beatles are playing it’s either because they’re rehearsing or performing at a club. Therefore, if you didn’t enjoy the structure of musicals such as Mamma Mia! and We Will Rock You, you’ll probably love this one.

It’s a no brainer that the soundtrack is fantastic (we’re talking about The Beatles after all). Some of the songs you’ll hear include “Johnny B Goode,” “Long Tall Sally,” “Love Me Do” and the crowd-pleaser “Twist and Shout.” Backbeat isn’t just for Beatles fans. It’s for anyone who loves rock and roll and a good time at the theatre.

Visit www.mirvish.com for tickets and more information.


Adam Sandler and Bob Barker Are Still Fighting Almost 20 Years Later [VIDEO] Adam Sandler and Bob Barker Are Still Fighting Almost 20 Years Later [VIDEO] Trending‘Star Trek’ Symphony Coming to a City Near You ‘Star Trek’ Symphony Coming to a City Near You TrendingTop 20 Under 40 – Sonya Meloff Top 20 Under 40 – Sonya Meloff Trending
 

Jewish Hall of Fame: Ralph Lauren

March 05, 2015 | By Caitlin Marceau
Jewish Hall of Fame: Ralph Lauren

Entrepreneur, fashion designer, and founder of one of the most recognizable brands in the world

Read More

Adam Sandler and Bob Barker Are Still Fighting Almost 20 Years Later [VIDEO]

March 05, 2015 | By Ashley Baylen
Adam Sandler and Bob Barker Are Still Fighting Almost 20 Years Later [VIDEO]

The 'Happy Gilmore' feud continued on Comedy Central's 'Night of Too Many Stars'

Read More

‘Star Trek’ Symphony Coming to a City Near You

March 05, 2015 | By Ashley Baylen
‘Star Trek’ Symphony Coming to a City Near You

'Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage' is going on a 100 city concert tour

Read More

Lena Dunham Wigs Out For First ‘Scandal’ Appearance

March 05, 2015 | By Ashley Baylen
Lena Dunham Wigs Out For First ‘Scandal’ Appearance

The 'Girls' creator will be making her debut on 'Scandal' March 19.

Read More

New York Synagogue Launches New Campaign to Promote Gender Equality

March 05, 2015 | By Shalom Life Team
New York Synagogue Launches New Campaign to Promote Gender Equality

Social media campaign #ShoutEquality urges Jewish men and women to raise their voices on Jewish feminism

Read More

UK’s School Of Oriental And African Studies Student Union Say ‘Yes’ to BDS

March 05, 2015 | By Caitlin Marceau
UK’s School Of Oriental And African Studies Student Union Say ‘Yes’ to BDS

Despite less than 30% of students participating in the vote, the student union is pushing for SOAS to cut all ties with Israel, including the ones with Hebrew U

Read More

Jewish Students Make Embroidered Megillat Esther

March 05, 2015 | By Caitlin Marceau
Jewish Students Make Embroidered Megillat Esther

As part of the school's annual design and engineering cooperation, four students made a creative, machine-embroidered scroll in time for Purim

Read More

Jewish Guy Dancing Behind Israelis Is The Pick-Me-Up You Didn’t Know You Needed [VIDEO]

March 05, 2015 | By Caitlin Marceau
Jewish Guy Dancing Behind Israelis Is The Pick-Me-Up You Didn’t Know You Needed [VIDEO]

Meir Kalmanson dancing behind total strangers through the streets of Israel will totally put a smile on your face

Read More

More Headlines