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Andrew Sherlock: Epstein: The Man Who Made The Beatles

Theatrical two-hander that’s set in tragic Fabs manager’s final days.

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.

Paul Sexton
Paul Sexton

Prog Magazine contributor Paul Sexton is a London-based journalist, broadcaster and author who started writing for the national UK music press while still at school in 1977. He has written for all of the British quality press, most regularly for The Times and Sunday Times, as well as for Radio Times, Billboard, Music Week and many others. Sexton has made countless documentaries and shows for BBC Radio 2 and inflight programming for such airlines as Virgin Atlantic and Cathay Pacific. He contributes to Universal's uDiscoverMusic site and has compiled numerous sleeve notes for the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton and other major artists. He is the author of Prince: A Portrait of the Artist in Memories & Memorabilia and, in rare moments away from music, supports his local Sutton United FC and, inexplicably, Crewe Alexandra FC.