Over the weekend Liz and I went out to check out John Waters’ brilliant show Looking Through A Glass Onion which tells the story of John Lennon with Waters as Lennon himself. Before I discuss the show, I must mention, it is amazing in one’s life who one runs into and at the points in one’s life, that certain people reappear out of the blue. Maybe I am waxing too philosophical about it, but that’s how I always approach and view life. Having said that, as I walked into the venue, to my surprise I ran into Rob Robson. I had not seen Rob for over 16 years. Rob was the director of the STAG musical productions I was involved in, playing guitar, back around the mid-1990s, Les Miserables and Chess. As the saying goes, ‘it certainly is a small world’. And the synchronicity of meeting him – a person from my theatre years – and meeting up again at another theatre show, well do I need to say more?
Back to the show, Looking Through A Glass Onion is constructed around a format of spoken monologue that is interspersed with songs from John Lennon’s catalog both with The Beatles and post-Beatles, it’s a truly wonderful trip through music history and through a life and career of one of the 20th century’s greatest singer/songwriters. Divided into two halves, the first half covers Lennon’s Liverpool years through to the Beatles success and their eventual break-up. After a short intermission, the story continues through Lennon’s 1970s solo years and ending with his tragic death in 1980. The material Waters covers musically is perfectly matched with his storytelling, from Sexy Sadie which expressed Lennon’s disillusion with the Maharishi to Woman which documents Lennon’s feelings on Yoko to Beautiful Boy about his love for son Sean. That’s just three out of so many, that also include Strawberry Fields Forever, Revolution, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, Working Class Hero and Imagine.
The underlying theme is one that shows Lennon’s desire to lead a normal life but one that would express his creativity through his music. Along the way, Waters superbly delves into the experiences that shaped Lennon’s public persona; the infamous “being bigger than Jesus” mis-quote, and his reactions to the racism directed at him and Yoko. Throughout the performance, one feels as though Lennon himself is there in the flesh retelling his remarkable life story to the audience, Waters channeling of Lennon’s spirit and character is chillingly authentic. The dynamic light show which is kept at a minimum, helps boost the light and dark shades of the story line and music. Coming away from this I learned some new things about John Lennon and also realized what a giant of a man he was both in musical output and the sort of good moral character that underlined his entire life. I highly recommend this show to everyone, in fact it’s so good, some one should offer Waters a movie version of this celebrated show.
Check out more about John Waters and his show at: http://www.johnwaters.com.au/
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Looking Through A Glass Onion