The Hayworth Theatre has offered up some unique musicals over the last couple of years, “Lovelace” and the gleefully wicked “Silence” to name just two. And now another tune-fest joins those ranks in the Tim Piper and Steve Altman “Just Imagine”, a rock and roll bio of John Lennon.
Piper and Altman provide the book, as it were; Altman directs and Piper plays the “smart Beatle”, but the real star of the show is the music of Lennon and McCartney.
Piper, it seems, has established a career in playing John Lennon much the same way Arthur Housman managed it by playing inebriates. Though I found his Lennon persona a bit long in the tooth, and his “Scouser” dialect shaky at best, in his performance as Lennon, he was pretty much right on the money. Once he started warbling all one needed to do was blur the vision and…well, just imagine.
In achieving this magical, mystery metamorphosis, Piper is solidly supported by Greg Piper, Don Butler, Don Poncher and Morley Bartnof, aka “The band”.
This is not a show for the uninitiated, nor is it likely to entice new converts into the fold, but rather it is a camp meeting for the “True Believers”, an opportunity for them to step within the inner sacrarium to do venerations of the Holy Trinity – and Ringo. And be prepared to raise your voice in common song with your co-religionists, so brush up on your lyrics.
The Hayworth even has the dark, confined feeling of subterranean catacombs sought out by followers of outlawed religions to worship in safety. Of course, it’s unlikely that entering the catacombs underneath Rome’s Appian Way, early Christians were offered earplugs for a $1.00.
Put out of your mind that only two of the Liverpudlian prophets walk among us, that “We’re Going to Have a Revolution” is now heard as muzak in the elevators of Target, and that the “Fab Four” have been featured on the cover of “Senior World”.
Just give yourself over to the priesthood of Piper and Altman; let the spirit fill you and surrender to the rapture that was the Summer of Love.