Leicester Square Theatre
7th August 2014
Brian Epstein, the man credited with discovering, packaging and unleashing the Beatles on the world, remains an enigmatic figure today following his death at the age of 32.
Epstein: The Man Who Made The Beatles, a two-handed play by Andrew Sherlock attempts to uncover the private man behind the public façade who perhaps sought the limelight more than his famous clients.
Taking place in Epstein’s Belgravia flat just 48 hours before his death, the play concerns itself with an encounter between Epstein and a young man he has brought home for the night. The young man known only as “This Boy” turns out to be an aspiring Liverpudlian journalist seeking to discover the “real” Epstein for a story he is looking to write. Adopting an interview style set up, the play seeks to reveal the complexities of a man who undoubtedly changed the face of music in the sixties, although whether that was through genius or by sheer luck is debateable. Much is made during the play of Epstein’s insecurities, his jealousies, addictions, failed acting ambitions and his over-riding love of the music and it’s makers.
As Brian Epstein, Andrew Lancel turns out a stunning portrayal of a complex man who is as strong and charismatic as he is emotionally frail and weak. It’s an incredible performance that commands the stage with his battered arrogance. You constantly get the feeling though, that he adopts a mask to conceal his northern background, attempting to become a part of the mainstream crowd that you feel he held in contempt.
Will Finlason as “This Boy” acts as narrator and interviewer of the great man. His swagger of sexual confidence, genuine admiration and love of the Merseyside beat, allows the audience to see inside the great man and to understand his insecurities and ego. It’s a compelling performance.
Sherlock has sprinkled the play with enough fact, that his occasional forays into supposition concerning the inner-workings of the man are believable. At just on 100 minutes (with an interval), the play never dragged and left the audience convinced they had shared an insight into the great man himself.
Epstein runs until September 6 at the Leicester Square Theatre.