Friday, August 3, 2012

Review: Backbeat - The Musical, Toronto

Backbeat - The Musical is the story of how the Beatles ‘became’ the Beatles, when the original 'Fab Five' played the seedy bars of Hamburg, Germany. The storyline features original band members: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Pete Best and Stuart Sutcliffe before the Beatles made it big. Surprisingly, Sutcliffe's life takes a starring role as we jump between his friendship with Lennon and relationship with German photographer, Astrid Kirchherr.

It's completely not what I expected at all. I think part of me was expecting Backbeat to be similar to Jersey Boys featuring the typical rise and fall storyline. Backbeat is less complex, but equally dramatic - just set your expectations accordingly...

Backbeat acts more like a play with music as opposed to a traditional musical with big dance numbers. It's based on Iain Softley's 1994 movie of the same name.

The dancing is pretty minimal with drunken partiers providing some movement while the band's music blares through the theatre. The most fun is had during the finale when a medley of Beatles songs are performed with audience participation - when it feels like we're finally at a rock concert.

The cast is multi-talented and play their own instruments live on stage. I was hoping to hear more Beatles hits, but they do play favourites like Twist & Shout and Love Me Do along with a bunch of rock 'n' roll covers.
The show arrives directly from London's West End with a pre-Broadway run in Toronto. Backbeat is now playing at The Royal Alexandra Theatre:
Tuesday - Saturday @ 8 PM
Wed, Sat, Sun @ 2 PM

A limited number of RUSH SEATS are $29 each and available two hours before showtime, first-come basis, in-person at the box office only. For more information visit:

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