Shalom Life | August 27, 2014

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.


Sarah Silverman Wins Emmy, Thanks “My Jews” Sarah Silverman Wins Emmy, Thanks “My Jews” TrendingHoward Stern Takes On The ALS Ice (Cube) Challenge [VIDEO] Howard Stern Takes On The ALS Ice (Cube) Challenge [VIDEO] TrendingMayim Bialik’s Plan For The Emmy’s: Strike a Balance Between “Hot and Holy” Mayim Bialik’s Plan For The Emmy’s: Strike a Balance Between “Hot and Holy” Trending
 

Chelsea Handler Says Her Final Goodbyes On 'Chelsea Lately'

August 27, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Chelsea Handler Says Her Final Goodbyes On 'Chelsea Lately'

The late night host was joined on stage by dozens of celebrities for her final episode.

Read More

Sarah Silverman is Returning to 'Masters of Sex'

August 27, 2014 | By Ashley Ramnarain
Sarah Silverman is Returning to 'Masters of Sex'

The comedian will reprise her role as Helen.

Read More

Op-Ed: After Gaza War, Helping Traumatized Israelis Heal

August 27, 2014 | By Chelsea Polaniecki
Op-Ed: After Gaza War, Helping Traumatized Israelis Heal

The road from trauma to resilience is a long and arduous journey that requires extensive therapy and the constant support of a family, whether biological or one born out of tragedy

Read More

Jewish Hall Of Fame: Mikhail Prokhorov

August 27, 2014 | By Caitlin Marceau
Jewish Hall Of Fame: Mikhail Prokhorov

At 49, the renowned entrepreneur, politician and Brooklyn Nets owner is one of the wealthiest men in the world

Read More

NFL Broadcaster Stereotypes Jews During Live Game

August 27, 2014 | By Peter Herriman
NFL Broadcaster Stereotypes Jews During Live Game

San Diego Chargers broadcaster Hank Bauer joked about penny pinching and some other Jewish stereotypes; he's since been suspended for a game

Read More

Some Israeli Knesset Members Are Pushing For A 'Hebrew-Only' Bill

August 27, 2014 | By Peter Herriman
Some Israeli Knesset Members Are Pushing For A 'Hebrew-Only' Bill

A group of right-wing lawmakers are proposing a bill to make Hebrew the sole official language of the State of Israel

Read More

Zara Discontinues ‘Concentration Camp’ Shirts After Social Media Uproar

August 27, 2014 | By Peter Herriman
Zara Discontinues ‘Concentration Camp’ Shirts After Social Media Uproar

The Spanish company is discontinuing its kids line of shirts that resemble prison uniforms Jews were forced to wear during the Holocaust

Read More

Southern Israelis Express Anger at Government

August 27, 2014 | By Ynet News
Southern Israelis Express Anger at Government

Despite ceasefire, Israelis living in the South are reluctant to return home: "I will not return and risk my kids' lives until Hamas is disarmed"

Read More

More Headlines