Shalom Life | April 25, 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.


Anton Yelchin and Zooey Deschanel Slated for ‘The Driftless Area’ Anton Yelchin and Zooey Deschanel Slated for ‘The Driftless Area’ TrendingSarah Silverman Apologizes in Advance For Swastika Doodle Sarah Silverman Apologizes in Advance For Swastika Doodle TrendingMural, Mural on the Wall Brings Animations to Life for Your Children Mural, Mural on the Wall Brings Animations to Life for Your Children Trending
 

Arabs and Israelis Find Togetherness with Soccer

April 24, 2014 | By Daniel Koren
Arabs and Israelis Find Togetherness with Soccer

After Hapoel Petah Tikva lost many of its players to Israel's national squad, the founder decided to recruit Arab villagers, creating a positive atmosphere among Arabs and Israelis in the process

Read More

American University To Honor Israeli Professors for Achievements in Suicide Prevention

April 24, 2014 | By Miles Rosenblatt
American University To Honor Israeli Professors for Achievements in Suicide Prevention

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention will be presenting its annual Research Award to two researchers, Professor Gary Diamond of Ben Gurion University and Professor Guy Diamond of Drexel University

Read More

Jewish Wrestler to be Honored at Holocaust Memorial Ceremony

April 24, 2014 | By Ynet News
Jewish Wrestler to be Honored at Holocaust Memorial Ceremony

Jonas Eckstein, a Bratislava-born wrestler, saved thousands of Jews from persecution during the Holocaust

Read More

Maccabi Tel Aviv in Euroleague Final Four

April 24, 2014 | By Daniel Koren
Maccabi Tel Aviv in Euroleague Final Four

The team is seeking its 6th European championship after beating Emporio Armani Milan last night

Read More

Breakthrough Jew - DJ Tennis

April 24, 2014 | By Sarah Bauder
Breakthrough Jew - DJ Tennis

Manfredi Romano aka DJ Tennis is the co-founder of techno and house label, Life and Death.

Read More

Scarlett Johansson to Join Disney’s ‘The Jungle Book’

April 24, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Scarlett Johansson to Join Disney’s ‘The Jungle Book’

ScarJo and Lupito Nyong'o are in negotiations to join Jon Favreau's live action/CG hybrid film.

Read More

Lenny Kravitz to Release ‘Strut’, His Tenth Studio Album

April 24, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Lenny Kravitz to Release ‘Strut’, His Tenth Studio Album

Kravitz plans to release the album in September through his own record imprint

Read More

Judd Apatow’s ‘The Simpsons’ Episode Will Air After 24 Years

April 24, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Judd Apatow’s ‘The Simpsons’ Episode Will Air After 24 Years

Before Apatow became famous for 'The 40 Year Old Virgin', he submitted a script to 'The Simpsons' in 1990.

Read More

More Headlines