Written by Gabriel Bergmoser and presented by Bitten By Productions, We Can Work It Out is a one act comedy that takes a look at the personal, off-stage lives of the Beatles. The story takes place in 1966 and over a bottle of whiskey, Beatle members Paul, John, George and Ringo begin to question what they are doing and where they are headed with their music. As the bottle of whiskey is emptied, secrets are revealed and tempers and egos flare. We Can Work It Out is purely a piece of fiction, but with a few references to real events it’s enough to make you ponder what really lead to the ultimate break up of the Beatles and how close this story could possibly be to the truth.
Writing a play about such well known characters is always a risk, but Bergmoser has managed to deliver an entertaining play that questions what may have been going on off stage, while remaining true to the public personae of each of the Beatle members. Taking a break from his usual psychological thriller genre, Bergmoser demonstrates his expertise in comedic writing, with some witty lines and a clever story.
The casting of each Beatles member is quite brilliant. Kashmir Sinnamon as John, Karl Sarsfield as Paul, Sean Paisley Collins as George and Brett Wolfenden as Ringo all deliver superbly convincing portrayals of these well known icons of music history. The physical resemblance, in conjunction with appropriate wigs and costumes, is enough that Beatle fans would quickly identify which actor is portraying which member of the group. However, for anyone not so familiar with each member of the Beatles, the script ensures there is clear identification of each character within the dialogue. The only improvement that could really be made would be a bigger budget to provide more realistic wigs (except for Wolfenden, who didn’t seem to need any tricks to look like Ringo Starr!)
The play is well directed by Gabriel Bergmoser and Finn Gilfedder Cooney. There are plenty of laughs to be had, but at the same time, there are some much deeper thoughts for those who wish to dig further. As John questions the role of a music band in a world at war, it’s hard not to allow your mind to wander to thoughts of ‘Imagine’ which Lennon wrote in 1971 and also consider the similarity to current world events. Is it enough to simply entertain others or does there need to be some deeper meaning or higher purpose to entertainment? The comments are there, waiting to be unpacked at a later time.
Bergmoser is the 2015 recipient of the Sir Peter Ustinov Scriptwriting Award and his talent is again evident in this latest play. We Can Work It Out is entertaining, engaging and thought-provoking. It’s worth the visit to North Melbourne’s Club Voltaire, if for no other reason than to be able to say you saw one of Bergmoser’s early works.
We Can Work It Out is now playing at Club Voltaire in North Melbourne, from November 3 to 14.
Photo credit: Ina Parakhina