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Lennon's Banjo playing at the Epstein Theatre

March 9, 2018

Lofts have been scoured, garages cleared out and that old box under the bed has long been sifted through.

And yet remarkable Beatle-related memorabilia is still being discovered – almost 50 years after the band split up.

Some items can make huge sums at auction, with instruments belonging to the Fab Four going under the hammer for hundreds of thousands, even millions of pounds.

In the last two years an annual memorabilia valuation day at The Beatles Story has uncovered a set of negatives featuring photos of John Lennon in 1970, and a letter written by Lennon to the Queen and explaining why he was returning his MBE, which had had been found tucked in the sleeve of a record bought as part of a £10 job lot at a car boot sale in the 1990s.

So how much might the banjo on which the Beatle learned to play be worth?

That’s the premise behind Lennon’s Banjo, a new comedy being premiered, aptly, at the Epstein Theatre this week.

John, Paul, George and Pete Best at the Cavern. Photo courtesy of the Cavern Club.

 

Rob Fennah, the man behind Liverpool favourite Twopence to Cross the Mersey, has penned the play, based on the book Julia’s Banjo that he co-wrote with Helen A Jones.

The story doesn’t centre around the Fab Four themselves – although there is a cameo for Pete Best, who is set to appear in person at selected performances.

Instead it tells the story of Beatle nerd Barry, played by Eric Potts, who finds a letter which might just explain the mystery of the mother of pearl-backed banjo owned by Lennon’s beloved mother Julia, but which vanished after she was killed in a road accident 60 years ago.

However, Barry and his mates at the Beatles Shop, are up against an American memorabilia shark in the race to hunt down this key lost piece of Lennon history that Fennah dubs the ‘Holy Grail’ of pop music.

The cast also features Jake Abraham, Alan Stocks, Roy Carruthers, Lynn Francis, Stephanie Dooley, Danny O’Brien, and Mark Moraghan who admits that growing up it was Motown that formed the soundtrack to his childhood.

“I did like the Beatles, but I was never a massive fan,” he adds. “It’s only as I’ve got older, and I got in to John Lennon stuff, that I started to appreciate them more, and I’ve revisited them, funnily enough, quite recently, even before I got offered this job.

“I’ve got a new-found admiration for them lately.”

Lennon’s Banjo is at the Epstein Theatre from April 24 to May 5. Tickets from the website HERE

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