Daniel Taylor as Lennon

Daniel Taylor as John Lennon

Lennon Through a Glass 0nion

Coventry Belgrade Theatre

****

COVENTRY was the final stop on quite a tour that started in New York, then went round most of Britain and Ireland.

Described as part-concert and part-biography, Daniel Taylor (Lennon on Guitar) and Stewart D’Arrietta (What a pianist!) treat us to a post-Beatles Lennon fest of songs – 31 in 90 minutes!

Daniel Taylor is physically very similar to Lennon and it was both thrilling and unnerving by turns to watch the stance, hear his diction and see how he delivered the songs in such a similar way to Lennon. The songs are a revelation; Lennon always thought he had to write about love, and the opening song about glass onions was breaking the mould.

Quite a few songs I’d never heard before but would love to hear again. I have to admit to being a George fan myself but this monologue in song made me look again at John Lennon and, in particular, think about how he started and where he finished, an unwanted child given to an aunt, always in trouble for ‘showing off’ at school and finally meeting his mother Julia at age 13 to discover that she had been living a stones-throw away all his life and nobody told him – then she was killed in a traffic accident in front of his eyes.  A beautiful song, Julia, records this episode elegantly and honestly.

He talked about meeting Paul, more musical than himself – he knew about diminished chords, and the Beatles seeming like the property of the public. Attitudes to Yoko Ono were far from our finest hour and, though she was blamed widely for the Beatles break-up, John himself admits that he wasn’t mature enough to cope with commitment.

His rendition of Help was stunning and my favourite part of the show. I’ve just seen Eight Days a Week about the Beatles on tour in America in 1963 and John talked there about it being autobiographical but used in the film up-tempo. This was slow but assured and every word was a stab in the heart.

I would like to ask why it had to be both so loud and so dark. It felt like a bombardment on a Friday night after a fraught week at work. Other than that, this is a beautiful show, written by John Waters, and a real experience that shouldn’t be missed. The show now heads off to Canada, the USA and then, with writer John Walters as Lennon, to Australia.

Jane Howard

21-10-16 

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