13th April, 2016

Through A Glass Onion: Cast members visit The Beatles Story

‘Lennon: Through A Glass Onion’ opens at the Epstein Theatre on Monday 18 April. It features Liverpool actor Daniel Taylor in the lead role, joined by accompanist Stewart D’Arrietta.

Whilst taking a break from rehearsals the two cast members visited The Beatles Story’s main exhibition.

Stewart: The show takes you on a journey. Most shows you see today about The Beatles are about the band and as such you don’t really get details about the individuals within the group. We take a journey inside the man and that’s why it’s called ‘Through a Glass Onion’. You peel away the layers to discover the true insides of the man.

We show what motivated him, all his flaws, the problems he had as a kid growing up. Also his problem in the sense of having a Japanese girlfriend that the British didn’t like, the Americans didn’t like, or the Australians for that matter.

Daniel: He was feisty too, that’s a good word to describe him.

 

The show features 31 iconic hits of Lennon and his collaborations with McCartney including Imagine, Strawberry Fields Forever, Revolution, Woman, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, Working Class Hero, and Jealous Guy.

D: In terms of having a favourite song to perform I can’t really see beyond 'Imagine'. It’s a lot more than a song, I think it’s a mantra isn’t it? I am also enjoying playing ‘Glass Onion’ at the moment.

S: He’s rocking it really well.

D: I do enjoy that one.

S: My feeling about the best song changes with what’s going on around me, and at present with all the stuff going on in the world I’ve got to say that ‘Revolution’ is the one that really cuts it for me.

D: In fact, that’s the first thing that happens when I get to rehearsals, he’s like “can we do Revolution?”. I think it’s because I came in and increased the tempo.

S: There’s two versions of Revolution you see and the show we do with John Waters uses the second version which is the slower version, but Danny said let’s do the fast version. It’s faster of course but it has a lower kind of groove to it too.

 

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's even been officially endorsed by John's wife, Yoko Ono.

S: I didn’t write the show, my partner in crime John Waters wrote the monologue and having said that there have been major edits throughout its life. He’s the guy that researched it, sat down for days and wrote it. It’s also grown a lot since then.

It’s the story from when the bullet leaves the gun to when it hits him in the chest. The last moments of a dying man and his life flashing before his eyes. It’s quite a dramatic piece. By the time we get into Imagine it’s really emotional.

The show now opens in its spiritual home of Liverpool for a special two week run. The people of Liverpool are invited to come and hear about John’s life from a brand new perspective.

S: Everyone in Liverpool already knows a lot about John Lennon but I don’t think it will be a tough crowd. People here have a sense of humour and that’s an extraordinary thing. I think this is going to be a great audience, we’ll have a ball.

 

S: Everywhere you go in this town there’s some Beatles. I mean you walk down the street and you’re hearing a Beatles song, it’s like everywhere. It’s like air! It’s not a bad thing and everyone you meet in the pub has a story.

D: My mum and dad used to knock around with The Beatles and were good mates with Pete Best, they used to come down to West Derby Village. They played at my Auntie’s 21st and were kicked off stage by my nanna! That’s a true story.

It’s my job as an actor not to simply impersonate him but to stand in his shoes a little bit. I’ve definitely got the nose though! And the accent! Then I put the glasses on and he’s in the room! I want to bring the fun to John because he was one of the lads. He had quite a streak in him and it’s important to get the fun of it so we can get the emotional stuff later.

I come from a very musical family and there was always music playing. Personally, my era was Paul Weller, The Clash, The La’s and that kind of thing. You don’t really hear of political pop stars anymore do you.

S: There’s still a lot of talent in Liverpool, the people here love their music.

 

Whilst visiting The Beatles Story the cast members paid particular attention to the John Lennon memorabilia including his orange spectacles, the last piano he ever played and photographs of the New York years by Bob Gruen.

D: It’s great, I came here as a kid with school. I loved it! I grew up in Liverpool, West Derby. It’s mind blowing. You need a full afternoon here.

S: It’s really moving actually, I think the exhibition is great. When you’ve been involved with this project for so long it’s really moving. This guy was assassinated, he really was a political figure. What you say up there “activist, poet, icon, hero”, you know that’s very poignant. He was all those things.

 

To find out more about 'Lennon: Through A Glass Onion' and to buy tickets click here.

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