By Rod Davis
In May 2013 a fascinating Lennon play, “And in the End” is due to open in London.
I first got to know the author, Sandy Marshall, in about 2001 when he was first researching the play and originally I was rather sceptical, assuming that he was just another American jumping on the Lennon bandwagon. How wrong was I! To start with Sandy has serious credentials in the shape of couple of Emmy awards and he quickly proved to me that he does not do things by halves. He had managed to interview people like Astrid and Julia, Klaus Voorman, Alan Williams and many others, although this in itself does not necessarily win an automatic seal of approval I admit. He had even borrowed a bicycle and cycled around Woolton and Allerton just to experience what John and Paul would have felt!
|Valentine Pelka as John Lennon
Sandy sent me his early script drafts to read through and I was able to make some comments which I am pleased to say he found useful. Now and then I found a phrase which I was convinced John would never have used and which I thought was an Americanism which had somehow crept in by accident. However for each example I questioned Sandy was able to refer me to the actual text of an interview by John in which he used those same words absolutely unchanged. Sandy pointed out to me that John had lived in the US for many years and thus was certain to have picked up more than a few Americanisms during that time - I was suitably impressed.
The subject of the play is rather a sombre one in that it deals with what goes through John's mind between the moment he is shot and when he actually dies. This does not mean however that there is no lightness or humour in the play, far from it. When Sandy was casting for the part of Lennon in London in 2004 I was present when Valentine Pelka, the actor who finally got the part was auditioned, it was immediately obvious that he was just perfect, even down to the way he held his cigarette! It later emerged that he was married to a Japanese girl and they had a son called Jude! Val has a long list of credits to his name including the role of Kronos in "Highlander: The Series" and a part in Roman Polanski's "The Pianist" to mention but two. On stage Val makes a very convincing John Lennon.
|Rod Davis, Sandy Marshall and Valentine
Pelka in Edinburgh
I first saw "And in the end" when it was produced as part of the Edinburgh fringe in 2004 and I was very impressed indeed, as was fellow Quarryman Eric Griffiths. It received many enthusiastic reviews and it seemed to be ready to make a major impact. There was a limited run in Australia in 2006 but then other projects intervened, including Sandy's award winning biography of his father, who was a famous magician.
Now it seems that the play is at last going to have the opportunity it deserves in that it is going to be put on in London at the Jermyn Street Theatre for a four week run from May 7 to June 1. Val Pelka is very much looking forward to playing the role of John once again and I myself am looking forward to seeing the latest version of the play which has evolved from the first staging which I saw in Edinburgh.
|Hair Peace Bed Peace
You might like to read this 2004 interview with Sandy Marshall in which he talks about the play:
For more information on the play, including how to buy tickets, visit the website which has been created by the renowned Beatle artist Shannon: www.andintheend.com
I feel certain that dedicated Beatles fans will appreciate the play as much as Eric and I did.
To further show their support for And In the End, Rod Davis will be performing, along with the other Quarrymen, at a special launch event on Monday May 6 at the St James Studio. Tickets, priced £15, are on sale now but are selling fast! For more information on this special concert, and to buy tickets, visit http://www.stjamestheatre.co.uk/events/john-lennons-original-quarrymen/