BWW Review: LENNON THROUGH A GLASS ONION – ADELAIDE FRINGE 2019 at Grand Central Showroom At The GC

BWW Review: LENNON THROUGH A GLASS ONION – ADELAIDE FRINGE 2019 at Grand Central Showroom At The GCReviewed by Fiona Talbot-Leigh, Sunday 17th February 2019.

In 1992 a dark-haired and handsome John Waters came to Adelaide to present his, then new show, Lennon Through A Glass Onion. Twenty-seven years later he returns, with hair now grey but voice still as rich as it was back then. I missed out on a ticket all those years ago and after the accolades he received, I always regretted it. Thanks to the Adelaide Fringe, this year I got another chance, and it was worth the wait.

This show has certainly been around the block and returns after its Off-Broadway success, with Waters leading on guitar and vocals, accompanied by Stewart D'Arrietta on piano. This is an intimate and very moving theatrical production, part music, part spoken word, which celebrates the genius and talent of one of the world's most famous songwriters, John Lennon.

Waters has been a star of stage and screen for over four decades. His longest stint was as a presenter on the education television programme for young children, Playschool, which he did for twenty years. Upon researching his early music career, I found out that Waters first gig was as a singer and bass guitarist in a London based rock band, The Riots, and so, from this early training and having years of performing this show behind him, he was more than comfortable to stand in a spotlight and present himself musically at his best.

Waters excels in this show, portraying Lennon so authentically through speech and song. His imitation of Lennon's Scouser accent completed his black leather look and, as shots rang out before he even stepped onstage, one was reminded of Lennon's murder and how the world lost not only an incredible singer and songwriter that day but a true artist and teacher of peace.

From that fateful night, Waters takes us back to where it all began with The Beatles, giving us snippets of Lennon's early life and taking the audience through, in story and song, to his relationship with Yoko Ono and the birth of Sean.

In just 90 minutes, Waters manages to present around 31 hits of Lennon and Lennon/McCartney, including Imagine, Strawberry Fields Forever, Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, Revolution, Woman, Working Class Hero, and Jealous Guy. An accomplished guitarist, it is Waters singing and characterisation that truly bring this piece to life. He has channelled not only Lennon's accent and voice but his very soul, no more so than when he sang Mother, and Imagine.

D'Arrietta was the perfect accompanist who is a talent in his own right. His rich harmonies, spot characters, keyboard, and percussion skills, rounded out this show to give it rare appeal. The Grand Central Showroom was packed to capacity and, at the end of the evening, all there left with not only appreciation of Waters (who by the way is 70 now) but of Lennon and all he had to offer the world.

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