Lady Beatle: Playing The Music Of Legends

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L-R Top: Mik Easterman, Michael Manikus. Bottom: Jason McGregor, Andrew Johnson L-R Top: Mik Easterman, Michael Manikus. Bottom: Jason McGregor, Andrew Johnson
'Lady Beatle' is the new show by Little Red Company starring Naomi Price, bringing the music of The Beatles to life in a cabaret performance.

The show wouldn't be possible without the band. Each member plays an important role in bringing the production together. Here, Jason McGregor (guitars), Michael Manikus (piano), Andrew Johnson (bass guitar) and Mik Easterman (drums) answer questions about 'Lady Beatle'.

What do you each love about The Beatles?
Jason: Their boldness in the creative process and the dedication they had to capturing the essence of what they were trying to convey in music. I once sat in a lecture at uni that consisted solely of listening to every individual take of 'Strawberry Fields' that The Beatles recorded... It was an incredible journey.
Mik: First and foremost it’s the songs. Without great songs nothing else matters, but I love their experimentation. They weren’t afraid to push the limits wherever possible. New sounds, radical arrangements, untried studio techniques; they took each idea to its limit!
Andrew: The songs.
Michael: They have an incredibly diverse catalogue. From the '60s they revolutionised recording techniques from the four-track recording which saw the innovative processes of multi-layering instruments. They would later extend these techniques to use the eight-track machine.

Of the four of you, who would you say is the biggest Beatles fan?
Jason: It's Mik for sure. He's got more Beatles biographies and background knowledge than any non-stalker should really have available at their mind’s grasp!
Mik: I think that would be me.
Andrew: Definitely Mik.
Michael: Definitely Mik; he’s a walking encyclopaedia when it comes to anything related to The Beatles and their catalogue. I certainly wouldn't want to take him on in a game of Beatles'song tennis (Trying to name as many Beatles songs as you can).

How is Naomi as a frontwoman/lead vocalist?
Jason: She gets what the gig is! She gets that it's about taking people on a journey and giving them an insight and experience as opposed to just singing some tunes. I have great respect for that.
Mik: She’s very passionate and dynamic. This is great for me because I feed off that energy. It’s a great ensemble to play in; all these guys are masters of their instruments so every night we play is a treat!
Andrew: Fearless and funny.
Michael: Naomi is charismatic, funny, very quick-witted with different audiences and has an amazing voice.

Favourite song to play by The Beatles?
Jason: I love 'Come Together'... It's all about that verse groove!
Mik: Probably 'Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band'. Ringo has a very unique swing to his playing and it’s really fun to dig into that iconic groove.
Andrew: 'Come Together' or 'Day Tripper'.
Michael: Tough question but I'd probably have to say 'Norwegian Wood' or 'Yesterday'!

Michael, you've performed in more than 40 countries across the world. Aside from Australia, where has been your favourite place to play and why?
South Africa – it's the country of my family’s heritage, so it was amazing to not only tour there but also meet my extended family and see where my parents grew up.

Andrew, you've been a part of major musicals including 'Matilda The Musical', 'Wicked' and more. What similarities can you spot with big musicals like that, and 'Lady Beatle’?
The big touring musicals come to Brisbane with extensive development time and long seasons behind them, whereas 'Lady Beatle' is a chance to see the Little Red team build something new.

Mik and Jason... What's the best thing about working on this show for each of you personally?
Jason: A couple of things, actually: firstly, getting to spend a bunch more time with my favourite musical family. They are all actually the most wonderful human beings. Secondly, increasing my appreciation of and giving my own expression to some generation-defining songs. A great day job to have.
Mik: It’s great to have the opportunity to get inside these songs and their meanings, really delve into them and (in some cases) explore new meanings for them.

Finally, how might you sell this show to someone who might not know much about The Beatles?
Jason: Like Naomi and Adam's other shows, tell people it’s on! They always seem to find their way to the seats from that point!
Mik: Not knowing much about The Beatles could be very socially awkward and you don’t want to be ‘that guy’, so grab some tickets for you and your mates and enjoy the show!
Michael: The Beatles have one of the most expansive catalogues which used to be owned by Michael Jackson but now belongs to Sony. There are some hidden gems within the catalogue which, in 'Lady Beatle', audiences will get to hear not only their favourite Beatles songs but enjoy songs they didn't necessarily know were by The Beatles. Not many people know about the girl fans of The Beatles or about the ladies which inspired many of their hit songs, so it sparks an interest in getting to know more about the backstories of one of the most famous repertoires in the history of music.

'Lady Beatle' Tour Dates

25 May-3 June – La Boite Theatre (Brisbane)
9-11 June – Adelaide Festival Centre


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