“John, Paul, George, Ringo & Bert. Got drunk. Bloody good musak all.”
This was a college trip to London’s West End and the Lyric Theatre. I was amongst a coachload of students, many drinking copiously on the way up, then – despite our age – hitting a pub or two before getting to the theatre. Those were the days my friend, sometimes they had to end!
“John, Paul, George, Ringo… and Bert” was Liverpudlian playwright Willy Russell’s first big ‘hit’. Russell would later gain fame and notoriety for penning such smash plays like “Educating Rita” which was turned into a movie starring Julie Walters and Michael Caine. Other stuff he is known for include “The Blood Brothers” and “Shirley Valentine”
JPGR & B’s story arc has been describe elsewhere as “an accurate and honest account of the Beatles’ rise and fall, culminating in an abortive attempt to stage a reunion concert. The show was notable for it’s ironic juxtaposition of songs against dialogue, and the author’s sparkling Liverpool humour“. I’ll have to take their word for it because not only are we dealing with my notoriously poor memory here, but we are also dealing with it whilst it was originally under the effects of a few pints of London’s finest! My review of the performance – “bloody good muzak all” – could just as easily have been based either alcohol consumption as much as fact, something I will leave you, dear reader, to decide.
Yes, for what ever reason, I have held on to the programme from this 1975 evening’s event, and yes I plan to share the contents of it. It’s a fascinating document of its era, not just for the adverts it contained but also when you realise who I saw perform in this play and who else was involved in it…