Audience: Doug Green
A charming funny light comedy about the struggle of nice people dealing with "that friend" who both ruins and improves their lives in equal measure. The production moves like the wind, with delightful performances from the entire cast, constant surprises, and endless energy.
If I had to give a negative about the show, it would be that the title character is far too enjoyable and bearable. Come on, this is America in 2019, the bar for painful narcissism has been set way too high now!!
This is what the Fringe is for!
This look at one moment in the young life of John Lennon, one whose repercussions extended through his solo years and death, is a unique and marvelous piece, beautifully written, directed, and performed. For even the casual Beatles fan, it’s a great education into a now-mostly-forgotten disaster that nearly ended the group; and for those with the knowledge of it, it serves up a brilliant look into the psychology of this tormented, egotistical, genius far too young for all he was experiencing.
While all the acting is excellent, of course special kudos must be passed to David Foy Bauer for his nearly alchemic characterization of Lennon, capturing him vocally and physically, but more so the mix of arrogance and confusion the man lived at that time.
Meanwhile, Stephanie Greer as journalist Maureen Cleave and Spencer Cantrell as manager Brian Epstein bring color, depth, and deep understanding to their characters, bringing us all into the frustration of dealing with such an irresistible pain as Lennon is known to have been.
Matt Duggan’s direction is simple, elegant, and unobtrusive, appropriately leaving the telling of the story to the excellent actors – with the one exception of filling the pre-and post-show soundtrack with music of the day other than by the mop-tops we keep hearing about.
But top honors must go to Trevor Boelter’s brilliant, funny, painful, and incisive script, which manages to both take us into the tortured mind and soul of one celebrity, and speak to our present day difficulties with media and egotistical rabble-rousers.
For its short length, this play is likely unimprovable. But it leaves the audience hopeful that Boelter finds a way to expand it into a full-length work that digs yet deeper into the issues, and the man, he clearly understands so well.
A pure delight - a funny, moving debate on life's meaning, beautifully acted and directed, with just the right amount of bitter humor to keep us going. Simple, unpretentious, and smart. Too rare a combination.