Although the play previewing at the Ahmanson Theater this week has its slow sections, and sometimes the Liverpool dialect is hard to understand, in the end it is all about the music. “Backbeat” thunders with live rollicking classics like “Twist and Shout,” “Love Me Do,” “Long Tall Sally,” “P.S. I Love You,” “Rock and Roll Music,” and “I Saw Her Standing There” played in classic early Beatles venues from seedy Hamburg clubs to the Cavern, where they were discovered by manager Brian Epstein.
The crowd last night stood on their feet for the last 15 minutes, dancing like teenagers (including one young woman who came on stage & managed to get a hug and kiss from “Paul”, as these outstanding actors/musicians recreated the exact historic moment the lads from Liverpool became “The Beatles.” Not an award-winning play (book is focused mainly on the relatively unknown relationship between fellow art students John Lennon & Stuart Sutcliffe (original bass player), but the live experience is priceless for any fan of Beatles music.
“Backbeat,” which came to L.A. direct from London’s West End, continues at the Ahmanson through March 1, 2013.