John Lennon: In His Own Write

John Lennon was not only a Beatle, but also a skilled short fiction writer, poet and doodler. His first book In His Own Write was published in 1964 – a wildly imaginative collection of various writing and drawings. Here, they are brought to life onstage, to decent levels of success.

Lovely to see a company staging this in such an accessible and interesting way.

The three performers are incredibly lively and highly expressive. This works well with Lennon’s heightened language and makes the performance both endearing and amusing. Lennon’s drawings are animated on a screen behind them and complement the telling very well. Each story is told with a unique playfulness and well-drawn characters which makes the show engaging for the full hour.

For some reason, though, the decision has been made to keep Lennon’s writing exactly as it was when first printed. This inevitably means that trace amounts of racism and ableism have remained, with words such as ‘spastic’ being thrown about casually. One story involves a ‘coloured’ lady in a factory, who is then portrayed with a terrible, stereotypical impersonation. This divides the audience. Many take it in their stride, but others clearly feel uncomfortable. Although I applaud the intention to stay true to Lennon’s words, clearly the text needs some updating or cutting to reflect modern standards and vocabulary.

That said, it is still a joy to hear Lennon’s witty and spirited text read aloud, as the words were always intended to be, and lovely to see a company staging this in such an accessible and interesting way. 

Reviews by Marni Appleton

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The Blurb

In 1964 at the height of Beatle-mania John Lennon released his first book In His Own Write. A zany, hilarious and sophisticated collection of stories, scenes and poems, it was beloved by critics and audiences alike providing a fascinating insight into the mind of one of the world's most famous wordsmiths. Baldynoggin Productions are delighted to present the entire book on stage for the first time and completely free as part of PBH's Free Fringe.