Lennon – Through a Glass Onion, Assembly Hall (3 stars)

This article is from 2015

Lennon – Through a Glass Onion, Assembly Hall

credit: Joan Marcus

The late Beatle’s life is recounted through his edgier songs by this Australian duo

There’s something deeper and richer than just a straight-up tribute show going on here, although that’s what it remains at heart. The stripped-back duo performing the show – Australian singer, actor and guitarist John R Waters and pianist Stewart D’Arrietta, himself a sometime Tom Waits tribute man – have fortunately not gone for the full mop-top and Sergeant Pepper costume look, instead appearing as themselves on a darkened stage with minimal set dressing.

Waters sings the songs and in between plays a passable Lennon, his flat-ironed Liverpool drawl touching upon the Beatle’s life and career – from the death of his mother to huge international fame, and his activism with Yoko Ono to his death by gunfire – in a manner which might be a bit peripheral for both knowledgeable devotees and casual fans just here for the music.

Yet the tone is engagingly mournful rather than sycophantic, and the choice of songs lends a sense of narrative using Lennon’s own words. For every marquee hit like ‘A Day in the Life’, ‘Norwegian Wood’ and the inevitable finale of ‘Imagine’, the spirit and rawness of ‘Isolation’, ‘Working Class Hero’, ‘Crippled Inside’ and a drawn-out, mournful ‘Help’ elevates this show.

Assembly Hall, until Fri 28 Aug, times vary, £17.50–£15.

Lennon: Through a Glass Onion

  • 3 stars

Play about the legendary John Lennon.