Shalom Life | July 05, 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.


Jon Stewart to Become Jewish Super Hero after Daily Show? Jon Stewart to Become Jewish Super Hero after Daily Show? TrendingJerry Seinfeld to Trevor Noah: You'll Do Just Fine Jerry Seinfeld to Trevor Noah: You'll Do Just Fine TrendingWATCH: Nirvana Goes Middle Eastern WATCH: Nirvana Goes Middle Eastern Trending
 

Google-owned Video Game Turns Concentration Camps into ‘Playable’ Spaces

July 04, 2015 | By Jeff Low
Google-owned Video Game Turns Concentration Camps into ‘Playable’ Spaces

'Ingress' players establish playable zones at concentration camp memorial sites, Google subsidiary receives considerable backlash

Read More

Yahoo Finance Links ‘Jewish Funding’ to Hypocritical White Supremacist, Earl P. Holt

July 04, 2015 | By Jeff Low
Yahoo Finance Links ‘Jewish Funding’ to Hypocritical White Supremacist, Earl P. Holt

Yahoo Finance reporter Rick Newman uncovers information which may link Earl Pendleton Holt III, president of 'racist,' 'extremist' group, to inherited 'Jewish funding'

Read More

‘Rent a Jew’ Program to Unite Jewish, non-Jewish Germans

July 04, 2015 | By Jeff Low
‘Rent a Jew’ Program to Unite Jewish, non-Jewish Germans

Provocative NGO initiative, 'Rent a Jew' program seeks to build relationships between German youth

Read More

Jon Stewart to Become Jewish Super Hero after Daily Show?

July 04, 2015 | By Jeff Low
Jon Stewart to Become Jewish Super Hero after Daily Show?

During an interview with Jon Hamm, Stewart revealed his goal to become Minyan Man

Read More

Single Cells are the "Ultimate Anatomy" and will Revolutionize Medicine

July 04, 2015 | By B. Shane Morganstein
Single Cells are the "Ultimate Anatomy" and will Revolutionize Medicine

Eric Lander, father of the Human Genome Project, believes looking at single cells is the medicine of the future

Read More

Jerry Seinfeld to Trevor Noah: You'll Do Just Fine

July 04, 2015 | By B. Shane Morganstein
Jerry Seinfeld to Trevor Noah: You'll Do Just Fine

The new 'Daily Show' host is the latest guest on 'Comedians in Cars'

Read More

Check Out Super Bowl Champion Julian Edelman's Photos from Israel

July 03, 2015 | By B. Shane Morganstein
Check Out Super Bowl Champion Julian Edelman's Photos from Israel

A look at the New England Patriots star's trip to the Holy Land

Read More

More Headlines