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Backbeat Review Duke of York’s Theatre

You might think Backbeat is going to be another jukebox musical full of all those greats songs from The Beatles. But this stage show is about the very beginning when The Beatles were a group of five.Backbeat

John Lennon (Andrew Knott), Paul McCartney (Daniel Healy), George Harrison (Will Payne), Pete Best (Oliver Bennett) and Stuart Sutcliffe (Nick Blood), left Liverpool in search for success which took them to Hamburg. Here they played 6 hours straight 7 days a week performing rock ‘n’ roll covers.

The play focuses on the story of Stuart Sutcliffe and his struggle between the band, his art, John Lennon and Astrid Kirchherr. Stuart fell in love with German photographer Astrid, played by Ruta Gedmintas, who made him realise his true calling was his painting. This intriguing love story is full of struggle but beautifully played by Ruta and Nick. The audience are rooting for this relationship to work in the difficult world. When Stuart becomes ill, the relationship suffers from more strain but the love never disappears. Astrid is there until his last breath and Ruta’s emotionally moving performance captivates the audience.

Andrew Knott shows John Lennon’s extreme passion for the band and his humour. A particularly funny scene showing the relationship between John and Paul was when they were creating the song Love Me Do. Here you can see a pair of incredibly talent songwriters ready for their journey to success.

This gritty portrayal of the beginning of The Beatles reveals the complex relationship between Stuart and John. Exploring The Beatles beginning, the audience are engulfed into a seedy world of sex, drugs and roll ‘n’ roll.

Duke of York’s Theatre
St Martin’s Lane

5th October 2011