At the heart of the play is the powerful relationship between John Lennon and "forgotten" Beatle Stuart Sutcliffe, and Sutcliffe's romance with German photographer Astrid Kirchherr. Kirchherr met the Beatles in Hamburg in 1960 and took the first - now iconic - studio shots of the band. She was also instrumental in developing the Beatles' look from tough "Teddy" boys to the adorable moptops the world would soon know them by.
Ms. Kirchherr and other insiders contributed to the play's development, adding insight and accuracy to the emotionally-charged yet often-comic tale. As Director David Leveaux described Backbeat, "It's a powerful piece of theatre about the transformative power of art and love."
An additional 12 actors do much to bring other characters, like denizens of Hamburg nightlife, to life. Inventive lighting and projection effects transform a minimal set into the behind-a-cinema-screen "bedroom" the boys stayed in when they first arrived in Hamburg, a foggy shore near a lighthouse, an art gallery, train station and various performance stages. Many will attend the performance for the Beatles songs; they won't be disappointed.
Backbeat is currently scheduled to run in Toronto until September, 2012. For tickets to Toronto performances of Backbeat play, including information on "rush" seating, see Mirvish Productions.