• Epstein

Review: ‘Lennon’s Banjo’ at the Epstein Theatre featuring Pete Best

Jimi Hendrix’s Woodstock Fender Stratocaster, Bob Dylan’s handwritten lyrics to ‘Like a Rolling Stone’… John Lennon’s banjo?

You might not have heard of it, but the first instrument that the legendary Lennon learnt to play could be the Holy Grail of pop memorabilia.

Set in present day Liverpool, ‘Lennon’s Banjo’ follows a frantic search for the fabled banjo when Fab Four fanatic Barry (Eric Potts) unearths a clue to the instrument’s whereabouts in a letter written by Lennon to former Beatles’ bassist Stuart Sutcliffe.

Barry’s discovery kick starts a desperate race to find the item after Texan antiquity dealer Travis Lawson (Danny O’Brien) and his wife Cheryl (Stephanie Dooley) get wind of the tale and want a piece of the action.

Danny O’Brien (Travis) & Stephanie Dooley (Cheryl / Nancy)

Loveable tour guide Barry is the star of the show and it would have been nice to see him given more stage time. The moments where he bores the pants of his pals with obscure Beatles facts are particular standouts.

Another highlight was the appearance of a real-life Beatle in the shape of the band’s original drummer Pete Best, who the banjo hunters seek out for inside information on their quest at the famous Casbah Coffee Club.

Alan Stocks (Sid / Carl / Billy) & Lynn Francis (Brenda / Curator/ Security Officer)

Best clearly relished the chance to step out from behind his kit and onto the stage – throwing himself into the role (of himself) with vigour, and delivering some of the play’s funniest lines in the process.

Although it might hit the odd bum note and could do with a few more laughs, ‘Lennon’s Banjo’ delivers a fast-paced, entertaining retelling of Rob Fennah’s and Helen A. Jones’ acclaimed novel which will have audiences captivated till the end.

At the Epstein Theatre until 5 May

Pete Best will take to the stage for another special guest appearance on 5 May.

About Author: Lawrence Saunders

Lawrence is a journalist at Move Publishing. He can be contacted via email at lawrence@movepublishing.co.uk or by phone on 0151 709 3871.