Edinburgh Fringe preview: The Beatles Were A Boyband

F-Bomb Theatre bring their second production, The Beatles Were A Boyband, back to Edinburgh Fringe next month.

We chatted to playwright and company co-director Rachel O’Regan to find out more about this show, described as “a unforgettable play … the cosy, safe world of three flatmates is rocked by a woman’s murder.”

Where: Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose, Downstairs

When: 18-27 Aug, 7.30pm

Ticket link: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/beatles-were-a-boyband

Promotional image for The Beatles Were A Boyband

What are you looking forward to the most at Fringe?

Personally, I’m looking forward to the end when I can finally have a decent night’s sleep again! In all seriousness, I’m excited to connect with the #FemiFringe community.

We started a social media campaign last year which just grew arms and legs, and now we have a printed guide of shows led by women and people of marginalised genders, we’re organising a massive launch party, and there are so many fun events and activities organised by the community.

I can’t wait to meet everyone and go support some bold new feminist theatre.

What has the topic of female friendship and safety got to do with the 60s biggest boyband?

I think the title is really revealing because we do get the odd biteback response like “How dare you call the Beatles a boyband!”. And it’s like, why do you care so much?

What is so, so terrible about aligning their music with teenage girls – who were actually their first rabid fanbase, and who got a lot of flack for it.

There’s a lot in the play about how women and girls are constantly invalidated, and it will often take a male voice to change opinions, which is what happened with The Beatles’ music.

Why do you think male violence against women is such a constant issue in our society?

That is a big question which I definitely won’t answer in a paragraph!

Obviously, it’s a multilayered issue, but a lot of it comes down to attitudes towards women, which are widely unchecked and normalised throughout society.

When the media, lawmakers and law enforcers, and significant people in our lives view women as disposable, inferior and objectified, that produces a culture of violence towards women. 

F-Bomb has received awards for their celebratory feminist shows. Which project have you been most proud of?

The Beatles Were A Boyband is only our second production! We did win a Fringe First and the Sit Up Award for social impact for it in 2022, which we’re of course proud of.

What sticks with me is the number of women in the audience who felt seen by the show. It really is one of those plays that will have you laughing a relatable line one moment, then sitting in silent tears the next.

We took a lot of care to make it emotionally authentic, but also something that didn’t feel exploitative or unnecessarily violent or triggering, or indeed unsafe for us to produce and stage night after night.

So much thought and work has gone into it, and we’re thrilled to bring it back this year.  

“Down to earth, hard-hitting, funny” are just some of the things said about The Beatles Were A Boyband. How did the show develop?

Going into 2022, I knew we were aiming for EdFringe again after the success of Afterparty.

Honestly, the idea of writing a show about gender-based violence terrified me because it’s not something you want to get wrong.

But I kept circling back to it, and at the end of the day, I just tried to reject the pressure to write a “perfect play” and make something that I would like to see onstage.

A lot of research went into it – and a lot of watching Grey’s Anatomy. That’s a key part of my creative process.