The Adelaide Show Podcast putting South Australian passion on centre stage

Lennon Through A Glass Onion

Lennon through a glass onion review by Steve Davis

Lennon Through A Glass Onion








Things we loved

  • John Waters' embodiment of Lennon
  • Stewart D'Arrietta's thoughtful and powerful arrangements
  • Honesty and reflections more of us should be game to share about our own lives and struggles

Things we would reconsider

  • It is a pity there weren't more younger people in the audience so the flame of magnificent songwriting could spark new boldness

With all the conspiracies suggesting Paul McCartney is dead, John Waters’ Lennon Through A Glass Onion should spark a new conspiracy that John Lennon is alive.

From the moment he opens his mouth and speaks in a Liverpudlian accent, John Waters becomes John Lennon; his decades of acting skill channelling the outlandish, angry, reflective, lost member and ex-member of The Beatles.

Waters’ Lennon bemoans the fact that McCartney captured more nuance with his advanced musical ability, but his Lennon delivers a biographical reminiscience that shines with nuance and depth and wit. It is magical mystery tour of Lennon’s life and thoughts before, during, and after The Beatles.

And through this masterful storytelling, there is an underlying theme, brought to the fore in John’s singing of Strawberry Fields Forever. Through his vocals and Stewart D’Arrietta’s deep, thudding arrangement, the line left to linger in our minds during interval is, “nothing is real”.

This line underpins much of Lennon’s anguish and adventure it seems; the dizzying demands upon The Fab Four, their ordinary roots, the British racism against Yoko, the hypocritical Bible belt backlash in the States, the long, arduous journey to discover what it is to carry out “mundane” tasks when life interrupts during the pursuit of other plans.

We glimpse the world through Lennon’s eyes (the glass onions?) and get a sense of what motivated actions portrayed by the media as outlandish. One of the most wry quips was Lennon postulating that, “we’re the PR firm for peace; war gets all the coverage, we’re just trying to redress the balance.”

Lennon Through A Glass Onion is also a masterclass in the simplicity and power of song. It is awe inspiring to consider one man could have left a legacy of so many intriguing songs that are not only a pleasure to listen to but also a privilege to be able to ponder.

This show is a journey to the heart of John Lennon and, through the profundity of much of his writing, it is also a journey to ours. From the lofty, sorely-needed ideals of Imagine, to the raw, heart-shattering intensity of Mother; Mama don’t go, Daddy come home, Mama don’t go, Daddy come home, Mama don’t go, Daddy come home, Mama don’t go, Daddy come home, Mama don’t go, Daddy come home, Mama don’t go, Daddy come home, Mama don’t go, Daddy come home, Mama don’t go, Daddy come home, Mama don’t go, Daddy come home, Mama don’t go, Daddy come home.

The little boy, lost below layers of extraordinary life, is laid bare in this show and the world will have lost twice over when John Waters and Stewart D’Arrietta decide to retire it.

Thank you, gentlemen.
Thank you, John.
Damn you, Mark David Chapman.

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