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Review: Books, Theatre, Albums, Movies and Gigs

Lennon

Royal Court Theatre, Liverpool

October 15 – November 13

Author & Director: Bob Eaton
Producer: Royal Court Liverpool
Cast Includes: Andrew Schofield, Nicky Swift, Stephen Fletcher, Maria Lawson, Daniel Healy,  Adam Keast, Jonathan Markwood

Running Time: 2 hrs 10 mins

Promo image for 'Lennon'.


Although the narrative largely takes second place to the music during the first period, the second more than makes up for this and so turns Lennon into a very special evening indeed.

Bob Eaton’s 1981 theatrical homage to John Lennon received widespread acclaim and enjoyed lengthy runs both in the West End and on Broadway during the early-to-mid eighties, and even earned approval from Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono-Cox. When in 1986 Michael Jackson bought the rights to the Beatles’ music, however, that seemed to be that until Jackson himself died suddenly in June 2009.

 

2010 marks what would have been Lennon’s 70th Birthday, so the wave of anticipation for this show is hardly surprising. Unsurprising, too, is the quality of a production in which Andrew Schofield shines as the flawed hero with some perfectly timed nuances and a singing style that is eerily familiar. Superb too are Stephen Fletcher as McCartney, whose accomplished style strengthens each time he takes to the stage, and Nicky Swift who’s downtrodden and largely ignored Cynthia, Lennon’s first wife and mother of Julian, is both poignant and powerful. Indeed, her version of You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away is a highlight not to be missed in a performance equalled by that of Maria Wilson as an enigmatic Ono, and all aided by a simple set, an excellent on-stage backing band and a large circular screen that shows images and film footage throughout.

With a new generation of music lovers in waiting, it is good to see that that such a clamour remains for the forty-plus Lennon and McCartney hits performed here and that class never goes out of style.

Chris High.


Image link: Royal Court Theatre  official website
www.royalcourtliverpool.co.uk


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