Bestbeat is a play about the 60’s beat scene in Liverpool, a nearly famous drummer and two young girls who are caught up in the maelstrom of change that took place in the late 50’s and early 60’s.
Although it’s not sure whether to call itself a musical, a documentary or a play; it does a great job in delivering a musical, historical snapshot of an event that actually happened, coupled with some nicely written lines.
The story follows Pete Best, the “other” Beatles drummer, who was ousted by John, Paul and George to make way for Ringo. Some say it was because of Best’s attitude, others say because of his drumming ability. The historical accuracy in the play surrounding Best has been given some fair consideration and provides the audience with a fresh look at the Beatle-history phenomenon, rather than the usual John/Paul perspective. From the Hamburg days to the brink of George Martin stardom, Andrew Games portrays Best’s rise and fall with competence.
Alongside the factual story of Best runs a gentle tale of two young girls, Kathy and Pat (played by Leah Wallace and Faye Caddick) who follow the music scene, frequent the Cavern and both become ardent fans of Best. Firstly, they narrate the story of the Beat scene, taking it in turns to deliver a shot of history to the audience; then they also deliver a story of two girls living in Liverpool, adoring the Beatles (well, just Pete actually) and “goin’ down” the Cavern on their lunch. As with all good stories, the tale has a lovely little twist, which I won’t divulge.
The second half was a little darker, as expected, as Best loses his job and is told that he has to leave The Beatles and becomes depressed and the music/lights lower and dialogue becomes quieter. The actors deal as well as possible with this period, but it’s a hard one to follow in contrast to the first half and subsequently the energy and projection drops at times.
The actors are good; they apply all their skills to every aspect of the play. Their comedy skills are well performed… resulting in some great laughs (The garden scene is particularly funny) and they can sing!
Underpinning the whole play is music. The writer and Director Francis Duffy, has put together a good play and written some great songs. My particular favourite was “I need love” but a particular plaudit must go out to Wallace, who sang “Love will find you” beautifully.
Praise to Musical Director and lead guitarist Craig Gamble (along with the other guys in the band)…. who arranged the music and played some cool lead riffs and licks
This is a good play; I enjoyed it. The audience enjoyed it and most importantly, the performers enjoyed themselves too.. you could see that. https://www.unitytheatreliverpool.co.uk/whats-on/bestbeat.html
Reviewer: Robert Steele
Reviewed: 3rd May 2018
North West End Rating: ★★★