Backbeat Icon
Duke of York's Theatre
St Martins Lane WC2N 4BG
Duke of York Theatre 3D location mapMap ©Silvermaze Ltd 2008 Duke of York Theatre photoPhoto ©Tony Reading 2008
Show Details
Preview 24th Sept 11
Opens 10th Oct 11
Booking to 18th Feb 12
Show Times
Mon - Sat 7.30 pm
Matinée Wed & Sat 3.30 pm

Local Info
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21 Monmouth Street
020 7836 7243

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2 - 4 Catherine Street
020 7240 4999
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A classic viewing of all the Theatreland play houses by night. The authentic commentary, by Ben Shafik - a player himself - gives an authentic feel to the West End's theatres - and is backed by real music.
Next version will be more upbeat as, suggested, to celebrate Britannia's unbeatable heritage.
(Over 6000 viewings and all good reviews to date).
Let us know what you think.

A note from the author

I took these pictures to show off London theatres as they are seen -most often - by theatre goers, at night.

Thanks to Ben Shafik for his lighthearted and informative commentary and Fionn O'Lochlainn for the original music.

Watch out for the new version with current liveries and the names of the theatres as they appear.



Oh God I thought, reading the reviews and seeing the 'greats' they picked. However 'Same old' singalong to some oldies played by total strangers to you - it may seem......

Backbeat 1In reality, there is really nothing so live and fun and so energy giving as going and hearing some jolly good old numbers played with gusto and vibrance right in front of you. Bopping in the aisles is a regualr feature of this show.

When the book was written people were forever exhuming the fast growing myths surrounding the Great Bands of the Past for almost ghoulish foresensics.... invariably boring - I mean what's that got to do with the experience of 'Imagine' ?

However the Beatles are the Beatles and if anyone wants to hear a Beatles song they can. People who say they don't like the Beatles have cloth ears behind walls of beliefs from their past. People who are lost in the red versus blue who loved the Stones but hated the Beatles.... so they still do. Don't get me wrong - some of my best friends have cloth ears and reject the overtly visceral quality of Beatles lyrics. Some who think that violins and cellos are completely out of place in a rock and roll band.... and so forth. Sad that - this society has swung towards being visceral-phobic.

Backbeat Beatles

Modern music has very little guts left. Thin clicky noises churned out on Garage Band - are sold in 'bars' on the Net. All clockwork. Then you have to listen to the words spat out (rappers even call it spitting) mixed with their own private bile.

Not so the oldies - well most of them.... no matter what the latest madness of crowds a good song lives on. The fact is that oldies sell and are played at home even though the radio is light on real music these days - ('produced' as it is).. I know for a fact that oldies are played in village halls.

Well this show is full of them (including Love Me Do, PS I Love You, Twist & Shout, Rock ‘N’ Roll Music, Long Tall Sally, Please Mr Postman and Money) and each performance is a great one because the music itself and the irrepressible spirit captured at the time of first release is built right in. Songs lift and carries the show.


Backbeat is an old sidelong look at how the Beatles ‘became’ the Beatles. It is set in Hamburg and is about the early days when they were still forming. (Don't worry it's all in English)

Anyway - be assured of a cheerful night out with the family - and by the way children LOVE oldies played with energy - so do teens even the ones too cool for school.

Get good seats here - they are worth it. Nobody wants to be stuck behind a post or using binoculars.

  • Andrew Knott - John Lennon
  • Daniel Healy - Paul McCartney
  • William Payne - George Harrison
  • Nick Blood - Stuart Sutcliffe
  • Ruta Gedmint - Astrid Kirchherras

  • Director - David Leveaux
  • Producer - Karl Sydow
  • Music supervisor - Paul Stacey
  • Adaptation for stage - Iain Softley /
    Stephen Jeffreys
© 2017 Updated 6th Dec 2011