BBC Radio 4, 14 November 2013
In 1962 the Beatles auditioned
for George Martin at Parlophone Records; having been rejected by every other record company, this was their last chance to
obtain a contract. Ray Connolly's imaginative drama was based on what might have happened if their audition had failed,
condemning the group to perpetual obscurity.
Seen through the eyes of Freda, their Liverpool fan club secretary (Sara Bahadori), Gary Brown's
production showed how the Fab Four broke up very quickly and devoted themselves to various pursuits. Paul (Stephen Fletcher)
became a teacher, Ringo (Daniel Crossley) won the football pools and lived a comparatively plush lifestyle, while George (Luke
Broughton) became an itinerant musician working for a variety of different bands. Freda worked hard to sustain interest
in the group, but by the mid-Sixties no one was really interested. It was only due to the performance of a school musical,
where John and Paul reunited to write the lyrics, that the Beatles managed to obtain another audition with George Martin (Jonathan
Keeble) and clawed their way up the ladder to stardom.
The play made some important points about how chance often determines whether groups become
successful or not. One good performance on one day can change people's lives. On the other hand, Brown's production
suggested that the Fab Four were not really in control of their own destinies; like many groups of that period, they could
be made or broken by institutions - record companies, newspapers and other media. The only way to survive in such a
dog-eat-dog world was to be true to one's inclinations - which is precisely what John Lennon (Andrew Knott) actually did.
With several clips from music
of the early Sixties to enrich the soundscape, Sorry Boys ... proved entertaining listening, with excellent vocal
performances from the actors impersonating the Fab Four.