The race for the holy grail of pop memorabilia is well and truly on in hilarious new comedy, Lennon’s Banjo which opens at Liverpool’s Epstein Theatre on Tuesday 24th April.
Set in present day Liverpool where Beatles tour guide Barry Seddon played by Eric Potts stumbles on a letter written by John Lennon, he unearths a clue to the solving the greatest mystery in pop history – the whereabouts of Lennon’s priceless first musical instrument which has been missing for a whopping 60 years! Cue comedy capers galore as we soon realise it’s not just Barry who is interested in the whereabouts of the infamous banjo!
We caught up with Eric Potts ahead of the show’s opening to hear a little more about this new play from the writer of the stage play adaptation of Helen Forrester’s Twopence to Cross the Mersey.
ON: Can you tell us a little about the show and also your character Barry?
EP: The show is based on the fact that the banjo which belonged to John Lennon’s mother and is the instrument on which he learnt to play music is missing, it’s a real story, nobody knows where this banjo which has a huge significance in musical history is.
The show is a very funny and very credible story about the potential discovery of the banjo, my character Barry is a real Beatles fanatic, beyond geekdom, her works as a tour guide on a Beatles tour in Liverpool and collects all the memorabilia he can. Having bought a few copies of a Beatles magazine at a car boot sale he discovers a very significant air mail letter inside which contains some very interesting information. Without giving too much away, someone else also hears this information who has slightly darker intentions so the race is on to discover the banjo.
ON: Is there something quite liberating about being the first person to play a role?
EP: Yes, absolutely, we did a 20 minute trailer a few years ago based on a film script that Rob Fennah had written which was really great and at the time I thought it was a really fantastic story, now Rob’s written the stage play and asked me to play Barry again as I did in the trailer so I was thrilled as we now get to tell the whole story. The stage play is very funny, I think whether audiences are Beatles fans or not they will really enjoy this play as a really entertaining piece of theatre which I’m thrilled to be part of and really looking forward to introducing audiences to Barry.
ON: What were your thoughts when you heard Pete Best was going to be involved?
EP: It’s absolutely phenomenal to have him involved, he is mentioned in the script and now we have him doing three performances with us we’re all very excited. To talk to Pete Best about Pete Best really is absolutely fantastic and a little surreal, all credit to him for taking part. In addition to Pete Best we have such a great and enormously talented cast who will really bring this great story to life.
ON: Can you relate to Barry’s love of the Beatles?
EP: I am absolutely; I’ve always had many albums, I just love the Beatles music and often go back to it. I’d say I’m not quite as geeky as Barry is but their music certainly was a significant part certainly of my teenage years, there’s just such a wide range to enjoy from the early years through to when they split, they covered so many varied styles and listening to that sound development is fantastic.
ON: You’ve recently finished playing Polonius in Hamlet and very shortly open in Lennon’s Banjo, do you still have time for you own writing?
EP: I do, I’ve been working on my writing in between finishing in Hamlet at the Octagon theatre in Bolton and before starting rehearsals for Lennon’s Banjo. I’ve enjoyed some time in my caravan writing panto’s, with a few scripts on the go, I’ve done a photoshoot down in London for the panto I’m doing this Christmas in Darlington so it’s been very full on before opening with this show but I like it that way.
ON: Finally if you found Lennon’s banjo yourself what would you do with it?
EP: Oh gosh, I think it would have to go to a museum, it wouldn’t feel right to just hang it up on my wall, as wonderful as it would be to have it, it wouldn’t reach the audience that I think it would need to reach, I think people particularly fans would just be so desperate to see it that it would be wrong not to share it, so I’d sell it on at a very reasonable rate of course ha ha! I think the best place to display it would absolutely be in Liverpool, for the fans and the city, that would be wonderful.
Lennon’s Banjo is on at the Epstein Theatre from Tuesday 24 April 2018 – Saturday 5 May 2018 tickets available here.