THE Beatles' original drummer will appear in a stage adaptation of a novel which tries to unravel the mystery of what happened to the first instrument played by former bandmate John Lennon.

Pete Best, who was a member of the band until 1962, when he was replaced by Ringo Starr, will play himself in the comedy Lennon's Banjo, which will be staged at the Epstein Theatre in Liverpool from April 24 – May 5.

Produced by Pulse Records Ltd in association with Bill Elms, the show tells of a quest to find the first instrument John Lennon learned to play.

It is based on the novel Julia's Banjo by Wirral musician Rob Fennah and Helen A Jones.

Contemplating his acting debut during rehearsals this morning Pete, 77, told the Globe: "The thought of appearing on stage didn't worry me at first, but as it gets closer I'm getting a little bit apprehensive, like you normally do. But I'm looking forward to it.

"It's another experience, another string to my bow, and the producers have told me to treat is as something that’s going to be a lot of fun.

"That's the best way to do it; don't get too serious, don't get hung up about it.

"The saving grace is that I'm playing myself, so it all depends on how the director wants me to play me.

"When I met Rob, I told him I was very interested in doing something if the book was ever turned into a stage play. So, here we are."

The cast features Eric Potts as tour guide and Beatle nerd Barry, Jake Abraham as disgruntled Beatles Shop co-owner Steve, Lynn Francis as pub landlady Brenda and Roy Carruthers as ruthless Texan businessman Tony DeVito.

Also featured are Mark Moraghan as Beatles Shop co-owner Joe, Danny O'Brien as Travis, Stephanie Dooley as Texan and Alan Stocks.

Pete will appear on stage for three of the performances during the show's two-week run.

He said: "The show's going to be a lot of fun. The rest of the cast and production crew are a great a bunch of guys.

"I hope the audience gets into and enjoys what the story’s all about."

The play tells the story of the mysterious disappearance of a banjo which belonged to Lennon's mother, Julia.

The singer was reportedly taught how to play rock and roll on the instrument by his mother, but it has not been seen since she died in a road accident almost 60 years ago.

Speculating on where the banjo could be now, Pete continued: "It could be anywhere; in numerous households, could be in America, buried somewhere in Liverpool …. who knows?

"We were aware of the banjo in The Beatles early days.

"John used to tell us how he learned to play one when he was younger. Then his sister Julia said it was out there.

"So, wherever it is, whoever's got it will have a nice little piece of real estate for themselves. I wish it was me, but sadly it isn't."

Reflecting on the impact his departure from The Beatles had on his career, Pete remarked that opened many doors.

He said: "We'd gone through so much as a band, and what happened was unexpected.

"But it made me say 'buck yourself up and look at what's going on around you'. It put me on a big learning curve.

"That learning curve has taken me on a different journey, such as making records, raising a family and writing books.

"I'm still very active on the music front, still got the band touring, guest appearances.

"In fact, I just got back from San Diego and regularly do 'an audience with …' shows with my band on cruise ships.

"I've done so many different things."

Rob Fennah, who also wrote the stage production, said: "As a huge Beatles fan, I was gobsmacked when Pete said he wanted to do it.

"Having a real-life Beatle up there on stage is going to be a fantastic buzz, not just for those fortunate enough to get tickets for the shows Pete is performing in, but for the whole cast and crew.

"I want everyone to enjoy their romp through Beatledom and come out of the theatre believing, as I do, that the banjo is still out there somewhere just waiting to be found. "

Tickets for the show are from the box office on 0151 709 4044 or