The play focuses on the last years in the infamous millionaire's life, including his complex connections and interwoven relationships with Jackie Kennedy, widow of president John F Kennedy, singer Maria Callas and his son Alexandros.
Originally premiered as Aristo at Chichester Festival in September 2008, the retitled Onassis has been rewritten by Sherman (whose other plays include Bent). Ahead of the West End, the new version, directed again by Nancy Meckler, premiered last month at Derby Theatre, which only reopened in 2009 after the administration and closure of Derby Playhouse.
Michael Coveney on Whatsonstage.com ★★★★ - "What is great acting? Hard to define, but you know it when you see it. And Robert Lindsay as Aristotle Socrates Onassis in a new play by Martin Sherman first seen in the Chichester Minerva Theatre, is the full mixed meat kebab: a performance of foul-mouthed arrogance, physical transformation, dominant authority and full-on vulgarian extravagance … Sherman and director Nancy Meckler concoct a modern Greek tragedy out of the legendary interaction between the self-made shipping magnate and the Washington political aristocracy … Lindsay paints a full portrait of aggressive sensuality and shocking self-centredness. Above all, he irradiates that physical stillness, charisma and banked down violence of all the big moguls and makes a good case for the old rogue being a top monster of the last century … It’s not a perfect play, but it’s a colourful cautionary tale for our celebrity times, with a knockout star turn at the centre."