And in the End
Jermyn St Theatre, London
until June 1
Members of the British Beatles Fan Club can see this fabulous play for the special price of only £10.00 per ticket
Simply quote "British Beatles Fan Club Offer" when telephoning the box office to book your tickets, or email Giles Cole at firstname.lastname@example.org
Review by Donna Jackson
Telling John Lennon's life story is inevitably a daunting task. So much has been written, so many myths have been told and re-told, so many people have shared their stories and memories, that to fit everything into a two-hour stage play is an impossibility. Where Sandy Marshall succeeds with his script for And In The End is by taking the main events from John's life and using the five stages of grief to illustrate the main events of John's tumultuous and remarkable life.
Marshall's approach is to take the premise that your life flashes before your eyes in the moments between life and death. After a stunning opening that left us all gasping (and although I can't say too much because I don't want to spoil it for anyone who has not, as yet, seen this play, the moment of John's murder was portrayed with dignity and respect), John begins to recall the key moments of his life as he also struggles to accept his imminent death.
The five stages of grief -- of accepting that death is approaching -- are brilliantly used to take the audience with John on his journey: Denial (I'm John Lennon; how can this be happening to me?); Anger (for example, his reaction to Julia's death); Bargaining (The Beatle Years); Depression (the Beatles break-up; the 'lost weekend'); and Acceptance (the release of Double Fantasy and, we hope, the peace that John finally found). The journey is emotional, and not just because we all know how it will end. It was a magical, traumatic and truly remarkable journey and the play serves as a great reminder of a truly remarkable man. (And if anyone is worried, the story is told without mentioning THAT name, for which Sandy Marshall is to be both thanked and commended.) John's story is always sad because of the way his life ended. And In The End there are feelings of hope and peace and that's a good legacy both for John and for everyone associated with this play.
The supporting cast in "And In the End" are excellent and Martin Bendel, Helen Phillips and Spencer Cowan received a well-deserved resounding ovation at the end of the play. But the loudest cheers were reserved for Valentine Pelka who commanded the stage for two hours in a portrayal of John that was masterful. There was no caricature or over-the-top scouse accent. Instead, from Pelka, we were treated to an honest, heartful and passionate performance that showed the 'human' side to someone who has become a legend.
John's story is familiar to all of us, but the way that this play is staged and presented offers a different view and perspective, and that alone makes it worthwhile to treat yourself to a ticket. When you add the performances of all four actors, and especially Valentine Pelka, then a visit to And In The End really is a treat.
And In The End is on at the Jermyn St Theatre, London until June 1.
Book your tickets now by telephoning the box office on 020 7287 2875 and don't forget to quote "British Beatles Fan Club" to take advantage of this special offer on tickets for our members!
For more information on this great play visit the website at http://www.andintheend.com/