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For some of us among ‘the olds,’ the Beatles provided the lush soundtrack of our lives. From first love (I Want to Hold Your Hand) to wedding song (All You Need Is Love) to funeral music (In My Life), the Fab Four gave us the tunes and lyrics that remain permanently on our personal playlists.

Sexon is a Whirling Dervish of delicious energy.

So what a treat to hear a lot of those much-loved melodies and get a look at the behind-the-scenes history of how John, Paul, George and Ringo got together, and why they split apart, in the high-spirited, expertly acted solo bio-show A Life with the Beatles, playing at Sweet Venues Grassmarket. Glasgow actor Ian Sexon stars as longtime Beatles road manager Neil Aspinall, the man who drove the van, ironed the shirts, bounced the stalkers and soothed frayed nerves on hundreds of days and nights of international tours.

'I have witnessed the beginning and ending of everything at the same time,' says Aspinall in the show. 'I don’t know why I’m still alive.' (In real life, he isn’t, having died in 2008 at the age of 66.)

Often regarded as one of several men known as a 'fifth Beatle,' along with bounced drummer Pete Best, first manager Brian Epstein and longtime producer George Martin, Aspinall knew McCartney and Lennon as fellow 'Teddy Boys' in secondary school. Rewinding to those early years, bouncing from gig to gig before the hit records happened, Aspinall describes John and Paul as 'ambitious and scared, shameless and delicate.'

Written by Davide Verazzani from a translation by Sabrina Macchi (the producing company is from Milan), A Life with the Beatles was staged for the Fringe by Edinburgh director Andy Corelli Jones. He’s found a perfect vehicle to drive this one-act in veteran actor Sexon. Mimicking the flat voice of John Lennon, the growl of Ringo Starr, the boyish lilt of Paul McCartney and the posh vowels of George Martin, Sexon singlehandedly populates the stage with a crowd of other characters.

Sexon (who actually bears a strong resemblance to George Martin) is a highly physical performer. Dancing, leaping atop wooden cubes wrapped in Beatles album covers, collapsing into a chair and then jumping almost into the laps of the front row – Sexon is a Whirling Dervish of delicious energy. (If he does a little too much pantomiming of actions that don’t need obvious visual cues, we forgive him. He’s that much fun to watch.)

If you’re a lifelong Beatles fan, you might even learn some new things from the Aspinall story. Like how the KKK in the American South held a Beatles record-burning ceremony (horrible) and the technical details of how the mind-blowing orchestral crescendo on A Day In The Life was created in the recording studio (amazing).

You’ll even be invited to sing along. If you’re anywhere around Baby Boomer age, you already know all the words by heart.


6th Aug 20155:15pmSweet Grassmarket
Apex International Hotel, 31-35 Grassmarket
7th Aug 20155:15pmSweet Grassmarket
Apex International Hotel, 31-35 Grassmarket
8th Aug 20155:15pmSweet Grassmarket
Apex International Hotel, 31-35 Grassmarket
9th Aug 20155:15pmSweet Grassmarket
Apex International Hotel, 31-35 Grassmarket
10th Aug 20155:15pmSweet Grassmarket
Apex International Hotel, 31-35 Grassmarket
11th Aug 20155:15pmSweet Grassmarket
Apex International Hotel, 31-35 Grassmarket
12th Aug 20155:15pmSweet Grassmarket
Apex International Hotel, 31-35 Grassmarket
13th Aug 20155:15pmSweet Grassmarket
Apex International Hotel, 31-35 Grassmarket
14th Aug 20155:15pmSweet Grassmarket
Apex International Hotel, 31-35 Grassmarket
15th Aug 20155:15pmSweet Grassmarket
Apex International Hotel, 31-35 Grassmarket
16th Aug 20155:15pmSweet Grassmarket
Apex International Hotel, 31-35 Grassmarket
17th Aug 20155:15pmSweet Grassmarket
Apex International Hotel, 31-35 Grassmarket
18th Aug 20155:15pmSweet Grassmarket
Apex International Hotel, 31-35 Grassmarket
19th Aug 20155:15pmSweet Grassmarket
Apex International Hotel, 31-35 Grassmarket
20th Aug 20155:15pmSweet Grassmarket
Apex International Hotel, 31-35 Grassmarket
21st Aug 20155:15pmSweet Grassmarket
Apex International Hotel, 31-35 Grassmarket
22nd Aug 20155:15pmSweet Grassmarket
Apex International Hotel, 31-35 Grassmarket
23rd Aug 20155:15pmSweet Grassmarket
Apex International Hotel, 31-35 Grassmarket
24th Aug 20155:15pmSweet Grassmarket
Apex International Hotel, 31-35 Grassmarket
25th Aug 20155:15pmSweet Grassmarket
Apex International Hotel, 31-35 Grassmarket
26th Aug 20155:15pmSweet Grassmarket
Apex International Hotel, 31-35 Grassmarket
27th Aug 20155:15pmSweet Grassmarket
Apex International Hotel, 31-35 Grassmarket
28th Aug 20155:15pmSweet Grassmarket
Apex International Hotel, 31-35 Grassmarket
29th Aug 20155:15pmSweet Grassmarket
Apex International Hotel, 31-35 Grassmarket
30th Aug 20155:15pmSweet Grassmarket
Apex International Hotel, 31-35 Grassmarket

The Blurb

The play was written by Italian playwright Davide Verazzani and was translated into English by Sabrina Macchi, a translator based in Edinburgh. It is a monologue in which Neil Aspinall, The Beatles' road manager until 1970 and then CEO of Apple Corps until 2007, tells the story of his personal involvement with The Beatles from 1961 until the band’s break up, including key episodes in the history of The Beatles. It focuses on the night of the recording of A Day in the Life, the song that closes their most famous album, Sgt Pepper's.

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