The Everest Game, frankly, comes across largely as self-insert Beatles fan fiction. An aging Beatles lover –played by Everest playwright Joe Hanrahan – has an encounter with a genie in a lamp, goes back in time to convince the band to stay together, and because they do, marijuana is legalized worldwide, the Vietnam war comes to a peaceful end in early 1970, all the religions of the world resolve their conflicts and meet together to celebrate, and North Korea gets a Disney World.
But, it was a quick and fun 45 minutes, and by the final scene, I felt like the audience had been given permission to laugh a little at the show as well as with it.
The Beatles themselves are played by young women, many of whom also appear in Shakespeare’s Women or The Bard’ Broads, and are portrayed in shockingly spot on parody. John never wears shoes and spends most of his stage time whispering directly into the face of Yoko Ono; the others seem clueless or stoned or deep in meditation for most of the show.
I was unsure whether the show was meant to satirize the fantasy of former hippie middle-aged white men, or whether it was a genuine expression of such a fantasy. It seems incredibly naive to believe that if the Beatles had made just one more album they would have quite literally saved the world, but I wouldn’t put it past many die-hard Beatles fans to honestly believe in that fantasy. The appeal of nostalgia can be enchanting and overwhelming.
The show ends with the four young women who play the Beatles, looking almost as 2017 hipster as 1970 hippie, mouthing the lyrics to Twist and Shout and playing invisible guitars. And with that moment it seemed clear that The Everest Game was as much poking fun at The Beatles and their most committed fans as it was paying tribute to them.
If you love The Beatles, or if you can’t stand them or their fanbase, this quick late night play is a great choice to round out a day at the Fringe Festival.
The Midnight Company will present The Everest Game by Joe Hanrahan at the 2017 St. Louis Fringe Festival. The play, co-directed by Kate McAllister and Hanrahan, will have performances Friday, August 24 at 8 pm and Saturday, August 26 at 4 pm. The Everest Game will be presented at the Kranzberg Arts Center Studio. Tickets are $15 and available through MetroTix.com.