Lennon is taken on by local lad Danny Taylor, fresh from a West End in Blood Brothers. His experience shows. Sporting a minty crushed velvet suit but keeping short back and sides, he is eminently watchable without doing a tribute act. His talent is immediately notable and his effortless portrayal props up the play. There is a degree of suspension of disbelief – Yoko Ono is more dull northern housewife than exotic muse in her unconventional portrayal by Natasha Alexander, although it could be this ‘normalisation’ of the couple’s everyday existence was supposed to be the point.
As their involvement in the peace movement grew – and Lennon eagerly awaited his Green Card to become a US citizen – William Meredith, in turns naive and complex as Mark Chapman, was accosted by the CIA. There is a lot of potential in this idea, which may have benefited from being a bit more drawn out and built up. However once again though, a convincing performance helps greatly, despite some slippy American accents from Chapman’s governmental conspiritors.
There are laughs, music, and as Lennon meets his fate, shivers up the spine. Writer, director and producer Carroll hopes to expand the work and revive it again in future. This rough and ready production, lovingly put together on a shoestring budget is a real labour of love of an endlessly fascinating subject, and it would be nice one day to see it meet its full potential.