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Lennon: Through a Glass Onion

  • Theater, Drama
  • 3 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

Lennon: Through a Glass Onion. Union Square Theatre (see Off Broadway). Written, directed and performed by John R. Waters and Stewart D’Arrietta. Running time: 1hr 30mins. No intermission.

Lennon: Through a Glass Onion—In brief

You can't stop the Beatle! Australia's John R. Waters has toured the world with his concert musical about John Lennon, featuring more than 30 songs (from his Fab Four days up to Lennon's final work before his murder). Now Waters lands in New York, joined by local pianist-singer Stewart D'Arrietta (Belly of a Drunken Piano).

Lennon: Through a Glass Onion—Review by Jenna Scherer


Is there anything new left to say about John Lennon? After more than half a century of idol worship, the inscrutable musical giant has become low-hanging fruit: Do a halfway decent cover of “Imagine,” and the audience will weep as one. Aussie actor-musician John R. Waters and collaborator Stewart D’Arrietta have been performing their tribute show for more than 20 years.

A guitar-wielding Waters cycles through a few dozen songs from the Beatles years and Lennon’s solo career, with D’Arrietta on piano and backup vocals. In between numbers, Waters tells first-person anecdotes from Lennon’s life—all tales your average Beatles fan already knows. At least this isn’t Elvis-impersonator stuff; Waters affects a Liverpudlian drawl during the storytelling bits, but the two perform the music in their own blues-rock style. They’re good at the foot-stompers, but Waters’s growly vocals and D’Arrietta’s plonky piano tear more delicate songs (“Norwegian Wood,” “Watching the Wheels”) to inelegant shreds. Though Through a Glass Onion doesn’t exactly peel back the layers, it’s at least lighter on cheese than most Beatles tribute shows out there.—Theater review by Jenna Scherer

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