Initially slated for a three week engagement at Sydney’s Tilbury Hotel 25 years ago, this tribute show which was devised by and stars John Waters and Stewart D’Arrietta, continues to pull in large crowds whenever it returns to Sydney.
The critically praised two-man show has toured to New York, London and Tokyo and includes 31 of Lennon’s hits including Imagine, Jealous Guy, Woman, Strawberry Fields Forever and Working Class Hero.
“The show starts with five gunshots. I thought, what would John Lennon’s dying thoughts have been as he lay on a sidewalk of New York City? I decided to put together random thoughts linked with songs that were very autobiographical, his songs both as a Beatle and in his solo career. That’s what we have, Lennon Through A Glass Onion, a collection of Lennon’s thoughts and memories which are illustrated by songs,” explained Waters.
Is this show dark and heart-wrenching? “Not entirely – it has moments of liberty and great moments of Lennon’s humour, it’s warm and funny as his life was and angry in other places. I think I’ve got the formula right and people are constantly coming back. The show has heart – and it’s me channelling John Lennon. I provide a blank canvas onto which people can paint their own John Lennon. Most people feel at the end of the show as if they’ve sat down and had a drink with John Lennon and he’s told them about his life.”
Waters said that more young people are coming along to watch the show.
“I think the demographic has just shifted slightly to a younger one and that’s one of the reasons why the show has been so enduring. We’ve had teenagers come along wearing their John Lennon and New York City t-shirts. It’s primarily a show for the baby boom generation but more and more their children and their children’s children are coming along to see it.”(MMo)
Feb 19–24. Sydney Opera House, Bennelong Point. $49-$109. Tickets & Info: www.lennononstage.com