Archive for August 17th, 2015

LENNON:THROUGH A GLASS ONION

Lennon: Through A Glass Onion
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Although this show featuring John Waters and Stewart D’Arrieta was a great success off Broadway and features the music of one of pop/rock music’s greatest composers, both with The Beatles and as a solo artist, I struggled to see what the point of it all was.
Obviously a celebration of Lennon’s music but rushing through snippets of thirty one of his songs whilst narrating moments of his troubled life in an unconvincing interpretation of his Scouse drawl is maybe not the best way to do this. Admittedly the song choices were impeccable- ‘Help’ ‘Isolation’ ‘A Day in the Life’ and ‘You’ve got to Hide Your Love Away’ and ‘Working Class Hero’ were stand outs- and they fitted the loose narrative flow perfectly but despite being coherent it just felt hollow.
Unfortunately there is not much more I can say about this show as it picks over the same old ground revealing nothing new or interesting about Lennon and although the songs were excellent and more than adequately performed the whole production seemed quite vapid.
Lennon: Through A Glass Onion is at the Assembly Hall until August 28th(not 18th or 25th)
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PENNY ARCADE: LONGING LASTS LONGER

Penny Arcade: Longing Lasts Longer
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Penny Arcade’s background is legendary: Warhol Superstar and acolyte, Friend of Quentin Crisp and Queen of the New York Avant Garde. However all of these pale into insignificance when left to stand alone without these reference points and only her witty, satirical, dissecting and very quotable observations on society –focussing heavily on New York- where she becomes a force on her own to be reckoned with, listened to and taken note of. Definitely a Fringe highlight this year Arcade’s verve and chutzpah reduces the nightly fireworks taking place up at the Castle to mere fizzle. Here at the Underbelly is where the real fireworks are!
There is little pretence about Arcade as, unlike many other acts. she actually wanders around the venue greeting and chatting to the audience as they enter thus removing the barrier that usually exists between artist and observer. At once we empathise as she connects on a down to earth level that relaxes and makes us warm to her instantaneously.
Not having appeared at the Fringe for several years she begins with a wry comment about it now being all about selling alcohol and how the financial success of shows generally relies on big advertising budgets. The analogy is then applied to New York’s arty and creative scenes which have also been appropriated by big business and gentrified.
Gentrification is a big theme in Arcade’s spiel and one which lies at the core of what she thinks is amiss in the world today.
Although most of her show focuses on New York and how it has changed she does also have very real concerns about all the crime in Midsomer, especially the murders. Certainly if the ITV programme is to be believed she has a point as the crime rate per head and the chances of being murdered are extremely high.
Mediocrity is the new black, the Big Apple has become the Big Cupcake, ageing is failing and Internet life support are just some of the more memorable phrases which are tossed out like confetti over a crowd more than eager to be smothered in them. A run through of the decades from the sixties onwards and what each has meant to her especially is riveting especially when revealing she hated each one at the time, has no truck with nostalgia and believes in living in the present.
Soundtracked by her longstanding musical director who played such diverse tracks as the Velvet Underground’s ‘Heroin’, ‘I’ll Take You There’ by The Staple Singers, ‘The End’ and Prince’s ‘Purple Rain’ at appropriate moments which gave the show extra shape and colour. Not that Arcade lacks shape, colour or anything else.
Do yourself a favour and go and see this show as although it focuses on how seeking validation from others is pointless until you can validate yourself it is one step forward towards attaining that validation. Oh, and it is also fun!
Penny Arcade: Longing Lasts Longer is at The Underbelly until August 31st (not the 17th and 24th)
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