Edinburgh Festival Fringe theatre review: John Lennon: In His Own Write, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Fiona Shepherd.
Baldynoggin Productions has secured the rights to adapt John Lennon’s 1964 book In His Own Write for the stage and they do so with affection and alacrity, dramatising every one of its wry and random short stories and poems against an animated backdrop of Lennon’s naïve, cartoon-like line drawings.
The tone of these sketches ranges from the whimsical to the nihilistic, with a touch of the macabre. Running themes include dogs, death and dead dogs – Good Dog Nigel is rendered as a jolly barbershop ditty, with barking and a sting in the tail.
Lennon was clearly influenced by the surreal scenarios in the works of Gogol and Edward Lear, while At the Denis features a catalogue of malapropisms.
This is but the tip of his linguistic gymnastics though. The barrage of nonsense language, inspired by the likes of Lewis Carroll, Stanley Unwin and Anthony Burgess, is dispatched with great verbal dexterity by the engaging triple act of Jonathan Glew, Peter Caulfield and Cassie Vallance.
They throw themselves gamely into entertaining lampoons of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five and Gone With the Wind-style melodrama, while a safari spoof and an extremely silly pirate adventure raise most of the belly laughs.
All Abord Speeching is a satire on RP and regional accents. As for Lennon’s own clever, if derivative voice, it is faithfully captured in all its slightly problematic anachronism, right down to the casual bigotry and specific cultural references of his time.
Voodoo Rooms (Venue 68b) until 30 August
Published in The Scotsman on 24 August 2015
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