Backbeat – the adaptation of the 1994 film by Iain Softley on the birth of the Beatles – will be rock ‘n’ rolling its way to London’s Duke of York Theatre for its West End premiere from October.
Backbeat is the story of how The Beatles ‘became’ The Beatles – when John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Pete Best and Stuart Sutcliffe embarked on their journey from the famous docks of Liverpool to search for success in the seedy red light district of Hamburg, working eight days a week, in the clubs of the tawdry Reeperbahn, performing rock ‘n’ roll covers night after night.
The compelling triangular relationship between the band’s original bassist Stuart Sutcliffe, the striking German photographer Astrid Kirchherr whom he fell in love with, and his best friend John Lennon, became an intrinsic part of the Beatles’ story – and put them on an unstoppable trajectory onto the world stage.
Stuart’s struggle between his best friend and the band, Astrid and his art, makes Stuart the troubled focus of Backbeat. His death, aged only 22, in the same year that the Beatles appointed Brian Epstein as manager, signed to Parlophone Records by Sir George Martin, and released their first single ‘Love Me Do’, adds to the poignancy of this remarkable and vivid portrait of the early 1960’s.
Backbeat features the all-time rock ‘n’ roll classics that the Beatles cut their teeth with – ‘Twist and Shout’, ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Music’, ‘Long Tall Sally’, ‘Please Mr Postman’ and ‘Money’ – live on stage as performed by ‘the Beatles’.
Co-written by Iain Softley and Stephen Jeffreys, with musical direction by Paul Stacey, and directed by the award-winning David Leveaux.