The intimacy of the 130-seat theater in Ambler permits a faithful replication of what it must have been like to actually have been in Hamburg, Germany, in 1962, and the Cavern Club in Liverpool (without, of course, the Mad Men-era smoking clouds and alcohol consumption). You genuinely feel as if you are watching the Beatles hone their sound, in a cabaret setting.
In a remarkable coincidence, the 4 Lads from Liverpool performance dates happen to fall within the 50th anniversary of the first time all four Beatles recorded together. During sessions on Sept. 4 and Sept. 11, 1962, the Beatles recorded their first hit song , “Love Me Do”, at EMI Studios.
(Paul), Douglas Cox (Ringo), Robert Graham (John), and the show's founder, Jimmy Pou (George) are all deeply experienced and have performed in other Beatles tribute bands, such as Rain, Beatlemania, A Hard Night's Day, and 1964: The Tribute. We felt that Pou most resembled the Beatle he was playing, and his version of "Here Comes the Sun" was our favorite of the evening. Ramone, when he discovered that he shared not only his first name with the real Beatle, but was also left-handed, he opted to portray his favorite musician in tribute bands.
As non-baby boomers, we have no direct memories of the Beatles at their zenith. This was an opportunity to enter a time warp. It ranged from the early 1960s, with dark suits and moptops, through the Sgt. Pepper era and beyond, while TV clips from the eras reminded the audience of how different things are now, in pop culture.
The biggest surprise of the evening was the comedy, an added bonus to the Beatles concert. Although it is fundamentally a Beatles tribute show, there were a considerable number of jokes, and we laughed out loud multiple times between songs, due to the wit and comic delivery of the lines (we won’t give them away, but you will laugh).
The audience was encouraged to participate, throughout the performance. Patrons cheered lustily, sang along, and got to their feet at the conclusion of each act. The running time is approximately 90 minutes, including an intermission, with 45-minute acts.
If You Go
4 Lads from Liverpool runs from September 4-30. Tickets are $33 for all regular Wednesday-Friday performances and $38 for Saturday evenings and Sunday matinees. Discounts are available for subscribers, students, seniors 65 and older, and groups of 10 or more.
You can call the Playhouse at 215.654.0200 or visit www.act2.org.
Act II Playhouse is now in its 14th season of providing professional theatre in the Philadelphia suburbs. It is located at 56 E. Butler Avenue, Ambler, PA 19002. Ample parking is available, also. Ambler is centrally located in Montgomery County, and is not far from the top of the Blue Route (I-476) or the Pennsylvania Turnpike.