BWW Reviews: Tim Piper Channels John Lennon in JUST IMAGINE at the Hayworth Theatre
Tim Piper returns to Los Angeles with JUST IMAGINE, an extraordinary rock 'n' roll celebration of the life and music of John Lennon. Backed by rock band Working Class Hero (Greg Piper on bass; Don Butler on guitar, Morley Bartnof on keyboards and Don Poncher on drums), Piper brilliantly embodies the much-loved music icon at the Hayworth Theatre through August 25.
Written and directed by Steve Altman, JUST IMAGINE intertwines John Lennon's songs with the stories behind them to create a unique and electrifying multimedia concert experience. The multimedia show begins with the announcement of his death and goes on to take you through a final performance with John Lennon, revealing his outlook on his life, his music career, as well as his inspiration for songs and his relationships with loved ones.
The show is really about the impact of love, and the lack of it, which drove Lennon to seek affirmation from the world inspired by his bitingly witty personality. Having a mother and father pass on their responsibility to love and nurture you in your most formative years led Lennon to express his rage through music following the accidental death of his mother after being struck by a drunk, off-duty Liverpool policeman when John was 17. Forced by his Aunt Mimi to either get a job or go to art school, John Chose the latter which led to him meeting and forming a band with Stu Sutcliff, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Pete Best and then Ringo Starr. Following their return to Liverpool after playing in the red light district in Hamburg, Germany in 1960, the Beatles took up residence at the Cavern Club in Liverpool. And their lives were changed forever the day Brian Epstein walked in and offered to manage their careers.
Enhanced by a multimedia backdrop of photos, videos, interview clips, and lots of psychedelic "light" shows, you will feel as if you are really watching Lennon perform songs we all know and love. It was extremely easy and so much fun to sing along with Piper when asked to accompany him on "In My Life," "Girl," "It's Only Love" and "If I Fell" as he strolled up and down the aisles. I have to admit I am a huge fan of the album "Abbey Road" and the band's rendition of "I Want You - She's So Heavy" rocked the house with Piper's heartfelt yell sealing it as the real deal. Other highlights include "Revolution," a medley of early songs from the Ed Sullivan Show, "I am the Walrus," and "Imagine." I do think a few selections need to be played at a slightly faster tempo, especially "Help" and "Norwegian Wood."
Piper has made a career out of playing Lennon after being obsessed by the Beatles like this writer and so many others, when they came to America in 1964 when we were kids or especially teenagers. Although he is the center of the show, Tim's brother Greg Piper serves as music director and plays bass guitar in the band. The brothers, as well as the other band members, boldly share the sheer joy of rocking out to Lennon's music, proud to be part of a worldwide family that shares strong emotions and fond memories of the man, his music, and the magic of a time gone by that still resonates today and hopefully will forever. Give peace a chance.
JUST IMAGINE - Backed by a live band, Tim Piper channels John Lennon in a multimedia rock 'n roll tribute that celebrates Lennon's life and music.
Starring Tim Piper as John Lennon
Directed by Steve Altman
Musical Director Greg Piper
Backed by the band Working Class Hero: Greg Piper (bass), Don Butler (guitar), Morley Bartnof (keyboards), Don Poncher (drums)
Presented by True Rock Theatre
Saturdays @ 8 pm: July 6, 20, 27: Aug. 3, 10, 17, 24 (dark July 13)
Sundays @ 3 pm: July 7, 21, 28, Aug. 4, 11, 18, 25 (dark July 14)
2511 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90057
TICKETS: $30, $50, $70 Call (323) 960-4442 or www.plays411.com/justimagine