A round-up of reviews for Backbeat at the Duke of York’s Theatre. David Leveaux directs the story of how The Beatles – John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Pete Best and Stuart Sutcliffe – embarked on their journey to international stardom, starting out in the clubs of Liverpool and Hamburg playing rock ‘n’ roll covers night after night. Based on the movie Backbeat, it reveals the compelling triangular relationship between the band’s original bassist Stuart Sutcliffe, German photographer Astrid Kirchherr and his best friend John Lennon.
REVIEWS ROUND-UP"Based on Iain Softley's 1994 movie, Backbeat is – despite all its raucous energy and high levels of amplification – often quite downbeat. It's all the better for it. "
"the script by Iain Softley and Stephen Jeffreys creaks with clichés and I left the theatre fervently wishing I’d stayed at home with my Beatles records and my memories."
"Let's get one thing clear: this is far from another lazy compilation musical to clog up the weakening arteries of the West End. For a start it has been written with care and finesse rather than lumped together."
"Sometimes it is difficult to work out whether this is a play with music or a musical with a few scenes attached. The songs, mainly rock standards such as Johnny B Goode, are performed with gusto. It is the stuff in between that is incoherent and unconvincing."
"while no one could accuse Backbeat of being just a jukebox tuner with pretensions, the drama often finds itself compressed into portentous, over-neat soundbites"
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