Backbeat is a jukebox musical written by Ian Softley and Stephen Jefferys, the former having created a film of the same name created in 1994 that the stage production is now based on. The story is set in the early sixties, when the Beatles in their Hamburg Years, just before they became huge, and focuses on the love triangle between the band’s lead guitarist John Lennon, its original bass guitarist Stuart Sutcliffe and the German photographer Astrid Kirchherr, who famously took some cool moody shots of the group and is also credited for giving them their signature collarless, mop-headed look. The plot observes the tragedy that strikes the band in this early phase when Sutcliffe, at the mere age of twenty-one, dies of a brain hemorrhage just when the band is about to kick off with major success. The heartbreaking tale really presents the most legendary of bands in the wake of tragedy juxtaposed with enormous success, and how they deal with the ensuing mixed emotions. Backbeat Play tickets are a must-haves for all those who consider themselves to be ardent Beatles’ fans as well as avid theatergoers.
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The show was given a world premiere in February 2010 at Glasgow Citizens Theatre, following which it was being performed in London at the well-known Dukes of York’s Theatre during 2011. Backbeat is directed by David Leveaux with musical director Paul Stacey. The main centre of its plot, Stuart Sutcliffe who was an art-school friend of John Lennon, is projected as the top of all that is considered cool. The former leaves the band to pursue a career in art, which is his new found passion at the time. The musical explores Stuart’s change in views regarding The Beatles as opposed to his newly developed interest in art; for him, the band is now more of a diversion and the protagonist is shown spun in a web of confusion as he find himself at the crossroad making a tough choice between the two careers and who he wants to be. This is expressed in a small scene where Stuart stands flustered, contemplating the changes as they are about to happen, in a beam of light coming from the lighthouse. The musical, while being entertaining and filled with heart-swelling music, is also frequently marked with such symbolic spectacles, which explains why many theatre-goers are on the lookout for some cheap Backbeat tickets.
Backbeat has been described to be more of a play filled with some really beautiful tunes than a musical since it is not the kind of show that is frequently punctuated with Beatles’ hits. Instead, in a rather brief manner, it provides a glimpse of John Lennon trying to improve Paul McCartney’s attempts on creating Love Me Do, which is perhaps the closest the audience can get to hearing the famous tune. The band is shown in its Hamburg phase when the quartet was basically a cover band performing in shady nightclubs, while working on their skills and sound for future hits such as Please Mr. Postman and Twist and Shout.
Backbeat is focus so much on music of the actual love triangle between the artists. It is instead, more about a painterly projection having been produced by David Leveaux’s who has made the musical more of moving art form; it is about how we see various spectacles put together in a series of meaningful events. The show is filled with scenes such as Stuart confronting a crucial turn in his life, facing john and insisting him to ‘let him go’ (from the group) as though he is trying to convince a lover by hurting him least. The musical has been described as ‘visually arresting’ by The Guardian because it si woven together by such profound, life-altering moments. Don’t miss the opportunity to watch the musical that interprets The Beatles in a heartbreaking tale on the verge of glory; make sure to book some Backbeat discount tickets and be there.
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