Like Across the Universe, Lady Beatle uses the songs of the Beatles to reconstruct an alternate narrative, a behind the scenes to the making of the world’s largest rock band if there had been a fifth Beatle. This story, though, is almost true. There was a lady beetle that bestowed with the love and support and good luck that propelled them out of Liverpool, and this show is in tribute to him.
Part tribute concert, part story, Adam Brunes and Naomi Price’s creation weaves Price’s narrative through the discography of Beatles hits in a celebration of the music, the memories, and the manager. Bruce Epstein was the man who discovered and managed the Beatles before his death in 1967 and this production follows those early years of stumbling upon the group and working them up to Beatlemania.
Price is a zealous narrator and lead singer displaying huge range across all the crowd favourites. On slower numbers like “Yellow Submarine” and “Penny Lane”, she involves the audience with personal spotlights and shoutouts in the lyrics to keep people involved and on their toes. The vast majority of attendees are keen Beatles fans, remembering listening to them growing up perhaps, and can be seen singing along to every song.
Price’s energetic shimmying is balanced out by the sleek band dressed in cool grey suits of a 1960s flair. Mik Easterman on drums, Andrew Johnson on bass guitar, Jason McGregor on guitar, and Michael Manikus on piano all have their moment to shine in solos dispersed intermittently throughout the performance and a rendition of “Twist and Shout” without their bubbly fifth member.
Costume design from Leigh Buchanan elevated the production with a well-honed sense of nostalgia and spiritedness. A particular stand-out costume of a deep plunging neckline and red sequins galore added a fun spice to the finale. The lighting design from Jason Glenwright was also quite impressive with plenty of colour to capture the psychedelic time period as well as the more dreamy moments of star gazing. A chandelier-esque display of hanging LED strips was mesmerising and introduced some dazzling complexity to the production design.
Whether you were with them from the beginning or you remember the covers from your parents record collection or you were just recommended “Let It Be” on Spotify, there’s something in Lady Beatle to get you bopping along and saying thank you to the lucky little lady beetle who helped make it all possible.
Lady Beatle ran at the Joan Sutherland Theatre from October 18th – 19th but it will continue to tour Australia until November 9th. For more information about the remaining performances, check out their website.