Scene It: A nostalgic, conversational trip down Beatlemania road

November 2, 2018

With more than 50 years having passed since the world first met four blokes from Liverpool with the release of their debut album titled ‘Please Please Me’, people are today still going crazy for the Beatles. Everyone has that one favourite Beatles song that they either listened to as a youngster of that time, or was introduced to by mom and dad who played their much loved songs at home. When a show like Beatlemania On Tour then comes to town, great expectations of the frenzy associated with a bygone era is then understandable. So, many people will flock to the Artscape Opera House by 11 November 2018 in search of that Beatles-magic we all still long for.          


Beatlemania On Tour —a tribute to the British Rock Pop icons from Liverpool— takes you on the Beatles’ performance journey from Hamburg and onward. Throughout the show, fans of the Beatles can expect the hits 'Hey Jude,' 'Yellow Submarine', 'Here Comes The Sun' and more, as the guys make every effort to get the audience out of their seats to ‘Twist and Shout’.


On this journey, the up-and-coming Liverpudlians share with the audience how excited they are to be opening for Roy Orbison on tour in the UK soon, dropping a hint that you're meeting a very young band who are still finding their feet and not caught up in the fame storm just yet. If you pay careful attention you even find out how Ringo joined the band.

This all adds a bit of theatre to the tribute show in that there is a clear idea for underlying narrative. For those not too well acquainted with Beatles history this may create a bit of confusion at the beginning as this approach is not expressly introduced to the audience. With references to their manager Brian Epstein (sometimes referred to as the fifth Beatle) this narrative-gap between what may be obvious to  fanatic fans and not so clear to someone who just knows about the music can possibly be bridged by adding Epstein (or an alike character) to the show as a narrator to help route the audience, especially during the costume change blackouts.


Beatlemania On Tour is a nostalgia driven show that takes a conversational rather than flashy approach —a very bold move, as most tribute shows go for the big concert feel. With this clear conversational direction, I would love to see this show in a more intimate setting to truly appreciate the concept that is being explored: It felt as if an intimate space would strengthen the audience-connection the guys work towards. But then, when the Beatles toured they could walk into any venue, big or small, and drive a crowd mad for their music, so there’s that angle too.


Regardless of the space and the fact that the guys are placed centre of a big opera house stage, their chatty manner and unpretentious attitude nevertheless will appeal to die-hard Beatles fans, as audience members can be seen wiggling and wriggling in their seats as you glance around the auditorium.

Cameron Charters (as Paul McCartney), Zac Coombs (as John Lennon), Brent McMullen (as George Harrison) and Ben Harper (as Ringo) clearly love what they do and put heart and soul into every Beatles tune they perform. Ben Harper, a left-handed drummer playing on a right-handed drum kit just like Ringo, is a treat to watch and at stages he truly steals the show.


Beatlemania On Tour’s appeal may be somewhat niche and generational, with those who grew up with the Beatles and are familiar with their rise-to-fame backstory possibly taking more from the show than someone who goes to see it more for music-loving curiosity than nostalgia. Either way, it’s fun to hear about George’s song-writing along with the bit of banter between the boys, which all picks up greatly in the second act.


In the end, if you love or even just like the music of the Beatles, you’ll probably find that you get swept up in the feels and rhythm of your favourite Beatles song... for me that song was 'Come Together'. Here’s hoping they play your favourite song too. To find out if they do, book your Beatlemania On Tour tickets through Computicket to the see the Showtime Australia presented show before the run at the Artscape Opera House ends 11 November 2018.


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