Writer and director Bob Eaton is making his contribution to the celebration of one of Liverpool’s most famous sons at the Royal Court, simply titled Lennon.
The title, well, the surname, is synonymous with arguably the biggest export to come out of the city and this month – October 9 to be precise – would have been the 70th birthday of musical legend John Winston Lennon, the charismatic member of The Beatles.
Eaton’s musical is a revival of his original in 1981, staged at the Everyman, which celebrates the life of Lennon through a catalogue of music penned by the musician. Lennon involves a versatile group of performers recreating the significant moments from his life, with some taking on a number of roles.
From his early days with Aunt Mimi, who Lennon grew up with, death of his mother Julia, his rise with The Beatles, to his assassination on 8 December 1980, all the events of his life are covered in this musical play.
Playing the younger Lennon is Daniel Healy, who doesn’t sound like the iconic man when he talks, or look much like him either, but his singing of the earlier songs and the way he holds the guitar is every bit Lennon-esque.
Andrew Schofield plays the older Lennon dressed in a white suit and sporting a long-haired wig and white shoes. The Royal Court favourite brings a comedy element to the role, with the odd one-liner here and there, and draws out a sense of Lennon being a little lost with where he belongs or belonged for that matter. When it comes to singing Lennon’s songs and voice, Schofield is bang on the button.
Leading the supporting cast is Stephen Fletcher, as Lennon’s song writing partner Paul McCartney, who puts in a really good performance both in his mimicking of Macca during the storytelling scenes and live performances of the songs.
Maria Lawson plays both Julia and Yoko Ono, while Jonathan Markwood takes on the roles of Ed Sullivan, Elton John, George Martin, and even a Police dog! The latter part was for the telling of Lennon’s conviction for cannabis possession in 1968.
Billy Meall’s set hardly changes throughout and includes a projection screen at the back showing footage and photographs of Lennon, his mother, and fans of The Beatles.
As a photograph of a very young Lennon fades out to the sound of a gun shot in the second act – in reference to his killing - the full cast begin singing Lennon’s poignant song, ‘Imagine’, drawing a close to a memorable night for one memorable person.