Review by Donna Jackson
In 1981, when I still living in Norwich, I went to the Theatre Royal to see Lennon. Mark McGann played young John and although I can't remember who else was in the cast, I've never forgotten the performance. In fact, it was so good that I think I went to see it three times!
I was just a little apprehensive, therefore, when I made the decision to see the revival of Lennon at the Royal Court in Liverpool. Sometimes, when you have such good memories of a show, it's better to 'let it be.'
Within minutes, though, all my worries were gone and when Tom Connor, playing the role of Paul McCartney, walked onto the stage and his entrance earned both laughter and a round of applause from the audience, I knew that I was going to enjoy the revival as much as I'd enjoyed the original musical back in the '80s. (One of my other favourite 'entrances' was the arrival of Ringo as the Beatles' drummer.)
The story, of course, was familiar but the acting, musical performances and characterisations were superb, with a chemistry and spark between the cast that was irresistible. The audience laughed, sang along (at one point, members of the audience carried on singing even though the cast on stage has stopped, to the evident amusement of the actors!) and yes, cried. We all knew that there was not going to be a happy ending, and John's death was presented with such emotion and passion from the actors, and especially Kirsten Foster (as Yoko) that it felt as if we were all sharing the grief for real rather than watching actors playing a role.
As I left the theatre, though, it wasn't sadness that I felt but joy, and not just because I'd been privileged to witness a great show presented by a supremely talented cast. I was smiling because I'd been reminded of John's talent, his wit and sense of humour, and the pleasure that his music brought and will always bring. It was a fabulous night in a really lovely theatre!
If you're in Liverpool this week, then I definitely recommend seeing Lennon at the Royal Court. In fact, I'm wondering if I can fit in another visit myself!
Lennon continues its run at the Royal Court until September 14. More information and details of how to book are below.
John Power (Older John Lennon)
Matt Breen (George Harrison)
Tom Connor (Paul McCartney)
Jessica Dyas (Cynthia/Mimi)
Kirsten Foster (Yoko Ono)
Ross Higginson (Ringo Starr)
Adam Keast (various roles)
Jonathan Markwood (various roles)
Mark Newnham (Young John Lennon)