John Waters is one of Australia’s most respected and awarded actors. Here Jo Munro caught up with the actor and musician to discuss his new show Lennon: Through A Glass Onion at the Sydney Opera House. She was also delighted to discover some insider secrets from this delightful romantic heart-throb.
The gorgeous John Waters has wowed Aussie audiences for many years breathing life into many of our favourite romantic characters from TV programmes like All the Rivers Run to his more recent beloved character on Offspring. John has also thrilled us on stage in masterful performances including the glorious Sound of Music. However, there is no more moving experience than to see John perform his world-renowned show Lennon: Through A Glass Onion.
This stunning piece of theatre and music is celebrating its 25th anniversary. It started here in Australia with John exploring the biographical content in Lennon’s songs. Adding monologues to transition the audience through the life of this iconic man. Famous and yet ironically so alone in the world.
Whether you like John Lennon, were a Beatles fan or not, this insight into the man and the myth is hypnotic. Don’t be fooled into thinking it is an impersonation of John Lennon. It is not. John Waters says the stage performance with Stewart D’Arrietta on piano is ‘a collage of memories of Lennon’. Some theatrical alchemy occurs and he embodies the essence of Lennon completely.
This work has not only received accolades in Australia but also all over the world. John performed this show in New York and Yoko Ono acknowledged the work by sending a personal message.
“Lennon was probably more revered in New York City than anywhere else in the world including Liverpool because he chose New York,” John told The Carousel. “He loved it. I think New Yorkers felt perhaps a collective sense of guilt that he was gunned down in their city.
“Yoko gave us all the permissions and we needed the use of image and the songs in the show and was extremely generous with us. I had a personal written communication from her in the photographs that was sent to the theatre while we were there. It was way beyond the call of duty on her part and really appreciated by me.”
The show is also playing in England now with Daniel Taylor performing the lead role. John said it was interesting that he is receiving more accolades as the writer of the show.
“I wanted someone else to take on some other touring,” John says. “Danny Taylor is a Liverpool guy. He does a great job of doing the show. He does it in his own way. There were a lot of complimentary things written about the piece as a piece of writing. I’ve really enjoyed that. It was a very nice kind of review to get for me as a writer, with them forgetting about me as a performer”.
Whilst researching the piece and its journey over the last 25 years I was struck at how it had moved its audience in profoundly personal ways. Just head to YouTube to see audience members recording an outpouring of their experience after the show and the impact it had on them.
“It’s always gratifying to know that it has stimulated people because whenever you do a piece of live entertainment, you want people to walk out of there with the things still buzzing in their head,” John adds. “I think for people to take something away is great. I’m very thrilled that it worked out that way.”
Naturally, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, are celebrated or perhaps notorious as one of the all time great love stories so I asked John Waters whether he is a romantic. Naturally, with Valentine’s Day around the corner I was mindful that romance is in the tool kit of actors as they spend much of their time playing romantic leads.
John shared that he is not traditionally romantic, saying: Valentine’s schmalentines. If I love somebody, I want them to know it every day of the year. I don’t want to respond to some arbitrary day”
He prefers to express his love for his partner and children daily rather than because of a specific date. But when it came to the most romantic gesture he has ever made, he shared a gem. John told how when his wife first moved to Australia, he filled a hotel room with flowers the colour of her home town.
“I had the hotel room festooned with flowers everywhere,” recalls John as he recounts his special romantic moment.
Ok so I might have sighed just a little at such a gorgeous gesture. Actually I also might have fallen in love a little bit more with John Waters the artist, writer, actor, singer, musician and gentlemen.
John Waters’ show Lennon: Through A Glass Onion is on at the Sydney Opera House – Playhouse Theatre from Tuesday, January 31 – Sunday February 12 2017. And at Anita’s Theatre Thirroul, Wollongong on Saturday, February 18 2017 at 8pm.