Lennon Through a Glass Onion at the Epstein Theatre
BY CATHERINE JONES
6 APR 2016
It’s fair to say Liverpool has seen a lot of John Lennons over the years – from tribute bands to full-blown theatrical stage shows.
Recently another John, John Power, took on the mantle at the Royal Court in a revival of Bob Eaton’s 1981 musical play Lennon.
Now a second son of Liverpool, Daniel Taylor – himself currently on stage at the Royal Court (in Down the Dock Road) – is donning those little round glasses to portray the ex-Beatle.
Lennon Through a Glass Onion comes to Liverpool's Epstein Theatre by way of Sydney, Tokyo, London’s West End and a 16-week season in New York – and with Yoko Ono’s blessing.
In it, the audience meets John Lennon on December 8, 1980, as he returns home to the Dakota Building after a stint in the recording studio.
John Lennon on the rooftop of the Dakota Building in New York, 1975
The show, billed as part-concert, part-biography, features 31 Lennon (and Lennon and McCartney) songs, performed as the 40-year-old muses on moments in his life, as a waiting fan approaches him.
But as the audience is fatefully aware, that fan is Mark Chapman.
“Basically we want people coming out of the show feeling moved,” says actor/musician Stewart, who plays and sings in the production and who recently acted as musical director for a White Album concert at Sydney Opera House.
“It’s not just about gags and things like that. It introduces the man’s personality.
“And we end the show with Imagine.
Lennon Through A Glass Onion - Stewart D'Arrietta, Daniel Taylor and Mathew Street's John Lennon
“At that stage there are a lot of people in the audience who are crying, because they realise this is the time when he was just getting his stuff together.
“Suddenly his life was robbed from him, taken from him, just when the drinking, the drugs, all that had been cleaned up and he was living this simple life – if it’s possible to have a simple life in the Dakota Building.”
Daniel was recommended to Stewart and writer/actor John Waters, who first saw him performing as another real-life British icon, comedian Tommy Cooper, at Edinburgh.
“When we met each other we clicked and the rest is history really,” says Stewart.
“We have a great chemistry working together. That’s a really important ingredient in this type of show.
“And I always believe that no matter what acting school you go to, when you are an actor you do bring a piece of your personality into the role.”
Daniel Taylor and Stewart D'Arrietta performing in the Lennon Suite at the Hard Days Night Hotel
So which bits of Daniel's personality IS he bringing to Lennon?
“Acerbic,” Daniel deadpans. “Lennonesque.
“He can be quite nonchalant Lennon, but not really. Although I wouldn’t say I’m nonchalant. I’m too overly sensitive for that!
“But I’m bringing the fun to Lennon.”
Stewart chips in: “The wicked side.”
“Yes,” Daniel agrees, “but there’s also the vulnerable side. Lennon, like many people who have these personas, underneath there’s something breaking.”
Daniel has spent many years touring in shows like Blood Brothers.
Now he’s enjoying back-to-back performances in his home city, first as would-be comedian Mickey in Down the Dock Road and now as Lennon.
Daniel Taylor (second right) as Mickey in Down The Dock Road at Royal Court Liverpool
“It does feel great,” he says of being on home turf – home where the band that played at his auntie’s 21st birthday were some lads called The Beatles.
“But I went to drama school in London when I was 18, a place called Webber Douglas, and in my head I built up this thing that they were going to train me up to do weekly rep.
“Not knowing that 96% of actors are out of work at any one time.
“Now I’m actually rehearsing a play in the day and doing a play at night. So I feel like I’m in some kind of weird rep vibe, but not quite!
“And while I’m doing all that I’m producing The Tommy Cooper Show too.
“It’s a great thing, it’s great to see my little boy Sonny who’s five. He’s a bit fed up with me being away.
“I basically won the jackpot.”
Lennon Through a Glass Onion is at the Epstein Theatre from April 18-29.
Lennon: Through A Glass Onion
When:Mon 18 Apr - Fri 29 Apr
Where:The Epstein Theatre
A play about Beatles legend John Lennon which opened in Australia, has played Off Broadway New York, and wowed audience at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival is heading to Liverpool for two weeks in April 2016.
Lennon: Through A Glass Onion will open at The Epstein Theatre, Hanover Street, on Monday 18 April, running through to Friday 29 April. There will be 14 performances across the two weeks, including four matinees.
Written by John Waters and produced by Harley Medcalf, the show is part concert, part biography and celebrates the genius, music and phenomenon of John Lennon. It features 31 iconic hits of Lennon and Lennon/McCartney including Imagine, Strawberry Fields Forever, Revolution, Woman, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, Working Class Hero, and Jealous Guy.
Writer John Waters is one of Australia’s most recognised, respected and critically acclaimed actors and singers. Born in Britain, he has built and retained a fan base across four decades of theatre, musicals, TV, film and music.
Producer Harley Medcalf’s career spans 40 years. He has produced shows in over 300 cities worldwide and worked with artists including Elton John, Michael Crawford, Michael Flatley, Shirley Bassey and Meat Loaf.
‘A deeply felt reflection of the man, savour every minute’ – New York Times
‘Lennon’s spirit shines through’ – New York Post
‘Surprisingly compelling’ – Rolling Stone
‘Brilliant’ – The Spectator
Tickets: £15 - £25 (plus booking fees)
To book call 0844 888 4411, visit http://www.epsteinliverpool.co.uk/whats-on/coming-soon-lennon---through-a-glass-onion.aspx or book in person at The Epstein box office. Opens 2pm - 6pm Monday - Thursday, 12pm - 6pm Friday - Saturday.
Address: 85 Hanover Street, Liverpool, L1 3DZ, United Kingdom
Phone: 0151 709 4044