Brian Epstein would have been 80 on September 19, which hardly bears thinking about when you consider how miserable and insecure he had managed to become by the time of his passing at 32.
A life filled with brilliance, acclaim, riches and despair is brought back in vivid detail in this well-informed and skilfully-judged production, which first ran, aptly, at Liverpool’s Epstein Theatre in 2012 prior to this limited run at the Leicester Square Theatre.
It features only two actors, self-confessed “Beatle nut” Andrew Lancel as the group’s ill-starred manager and Will Finlason, known only as “This Boy”, who meets Epstein in a club in 1967 and goes back to his London apartment. There, he wins his confidence and gains real insight into his life – as it turns out – just before it ends.
The device of staging the play as a two-hander, with occasional use of filmed backdrops and silhouettes, gives Jen Heyes’ production considerable intensity, while Liverpudlian Andrew Sherlock’s intelligent script gives a wide berth to the usual clichés. It may not be shocking to see just how lonely it can be at the top, but Lancel conveys just how emotionally stranded Epstein became, and Finlason is a believable sounding board. It makes for fresh light through old windows.