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    ROYAL COURT THEATRE LIVERPOOL, SUNDAY 30TH AUGUST 2015

     

    For many, John Lennon’s music has been a constant part of their lives. I was five when I first heard his voice echoing from my parent’s record player; the beautiful chimes of ‘Woman’ capturing my attention. A few years later I saw ‘Imagine’ on the TV and I said, “Mum, who’s that?” She told me that his name was John Lennon and that he used to be in a band called The Beatles. I looked at this man with little round glasses and my musical education began. From my school project about Lennon, to the days when I used to write University essays while listening to Double Fantasy, his music has captivated me throughout the years. In my Life at the Royal Court Theatre Liverpool captured all those feelings about why I love Lennon’s music – and why he is still an inspiration to so many.

     

    The beauty of the production lay in the way it was conveyed; a simple stage against a backdrop of changing photographs. There were no elaborate sets or recreation of events. It was simply the dialogue, the music and the performers. Mark McGann’s Lennon spoke to the audience; the emotion and passion in his voice drawing you in. There was that feeling of inclusivity. We were all here to celebrate a man whose music resonated with us at different moments in our own lives. The title, In my Life, seems to echo that.

     


    From the birth of Sean against a backdrop of ‘Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)’, to the death of Brian Epstein before ‘A day in the Life’, the music and the dialogue connected seamlessly. It was a road; a road that paved the way for a powerful journey through events in Lennon’s life. The incredible Pepperland were an outstanding choice to accompany McGann onstage. Their harmonies were tight and well-rehearsed, comparable to the Beatles. With every chord the stage came alive, as they got the crowd on their feet with classics including ‘(Just like) starting over’ and ‘You can’t do that’. The script too was brilliant and incredibly honest. The dialogue captures the wit that is synonymous with Lennon, but it also captures the messages of peace and love within his records, particularly in the poignant closing statement about John’s death. The script stays with you long after In my Life has finished, much like Lennon’s music.

     

    Many actors have played John Lennon, but none compare to Mark McGann’s interpretation. It wasn’t exaggerated or a caricature – it was realistic, open and emotive. When he sang ‘Mother’, the room seemed to come to a standstill. His voice was simply perfect. Each note left you speechless; an incredible sense of awe. “Mother you had me, but I didn’t have you” – every word was sung with care and sincerity.  Though you might have heard the songs before, McGann’s performance is so moving and breath-taking, it’s as if you’re hearing them again for the very first time. Lennon is one of my heroes, and after In my Life, so is Mark McGann. His interpretation is one I will never forget.

     

    John Lennon was a great musician, but he was also a son, a nephew, a father, a husband, a friend and remains a working class hero for so many across the world. In my Life captures this. It is a show to treasure forever, a masterpiece that continues Lennon’s legacy and shares this with generations of fans.

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      Sarah's posts By Sarah O' Hara
      @TheLowdownMag


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