Even though Joe Strummer preached that “phony Beatlemania has bitten the dust” back in 1979, it seems that the pop culture references to the Fab Four will never truly die. That’s what the one man Fringe production of All You Need seems to be for the first 15 minutes—a cute/funny pop culture reference—but slowly, it transforms into a moving character study.
We are introduced to Maxwell (Owen Bishop), a sweaty 28-year-old who is convinced that Paul McCartney actually died in 1966. If this sounds familiar, it should. The “Paul McCartney is dead” conspiracy theory has been around since 1969 and seems to pick up steam every five or so years thanks to sites like Reddit.
While there are hints of this play being about the playwright’s deep dive into Reddit and Wikipedia Beatles conspiracy theories, All You Need instead takes the insanely hilarious situation and crafts an emotional trench that may leave you shedding a tear or two.
Maxwell’s relationship with The Beatles is an interesting one, and while he takes the audience through the popular and cryptic rabbit hole at a rapid pace and burns through a number of true wacko American government cover ups, you can’t help but notice his hospital wrist band.
Maxwell is clearly keeping more from you than he says, leaving you to guess what’s actually going on. This play is much more about human connection, with The Beatles acting as a catalyst to touch on some very real issues. And as far as Beatles pop culture references, it probably blows the newest Beatles flick, Yesterday, out of the water.