I first saw Glass Onion on June 13 1994.  I went solely as a John Waters fan.  I knew most of Lennon's major hits but through Glass Onion I came to learn and understand so many more.  Nothing could have prepared me for the emotions I experienced at this show - from the shock of the initial gun shots - to the final heart beat at the end.  I bought the cd of the show and have listened to it constantly ever since then. I kept most of the reviews from Perth papers at the time and have typed them out for you here along with others I have sourced.
Home: Bio/UpdatesGlass Onion HistoryReviews: Early to mid 90sReviews: 2001Reviews & Dates: 2002
Reviews & Dates: 2004Reviews & Dates: 2007Reviews & Dates:2010/11Glass Onion Tour Facebook PageGlass Onion Facebook Page
Lennon:Through A Glass Onion. New York 2014Lennon On StageLennonOnStage Facebook Page

JOHN WATERS IMAGINE  Sydney Morning Herald By TONY SQUIRES.  28th June 1993

A few years ago, John Waters imagined "a show in a suitcase". After carting Looking Through A Glass Onion, the music and musings of John Lennon, across the country, he is in need of slightly larger baggage.  Waters and his co-writer and keyboard player, Stewart D' Arietta, return to Sydney tonight with the show that began at the Tilbury Hotel - a cabaret venue so intimate that the punters in the back row can count the beads of perspiration gathering on a performer's brow. 

Glass Onion has put on some weight during the tour, with the addition of three more musicians, building to a show that should fill the larger environs of the Seymour Centre.  But Waters, who wears his fame and 45 years with ease, maintains that the showcase for the fab former Beatle's contribution to the planet remains close to the original production. He has simply tinkered with the mechanics and fattened up the sound while traipsing about Australia.  Waters was determined to give the bigger show a send-off in his home town before heading overseas. The British producer Michael White is taking Glass Onion to London's West End in September, with the approval of Yoko Ono. 

It's not surprising then, that Waters seems a content man, folded into a canvas chair at his dining room table. He has just returned from short seasons in Brisbane, Melbourne and the capital of clubland, Twin Towns at Tweed Heads.  Unlike his show, Waters has gained no weight on tour and looks horribly healthy. The only concession to age is a close-cropped skull cap of grey hair. "Twin Towns is absolutely ... well, it's a charming place," Waters offers, drawing a bit harder on the thinly-rolled cigarette. John Lennon sometimes misled the media, too. "It's clubland. It's not really geared for our show." 

The experience did, however, convince Waters that the show could hold people, no matter how difficult the room. Directly in his line of vision from the stage at Twin Towns was a bar "lit up like Disneyland", with people hustling to and fro. But the noise died and the stage became the focus, with no-one yelling for Waters to do one of Ringo's tunes.  If Waters had been heckled, he would have ignored what passes for audience wit. He devised the show with no concession to audience interaction. While the only negative critical responses during Glass Onion 's first Sydney season related to Waters not being open enough to his audience, he sees it as part of the style.
"It's odd, because the chat between songs is quite intimate and casual and is meant to be personal-sounding, but it's a detachment. When I envisaged the show, I imagined what I suppose is rather a stupid thing: a live show that actually looks like television. It cuts from one thing to another. Like you've turned on the telly and it's John Lennon in bits and pieces of interviews saying things. That's why I don't expect, encourage or need the audience to feel that they can come back at me at all. It's not like a stand-up act.
Lennon's introspection was very public." 

While he could at times be completely closed off, Waters believes Lennon's self-image was of one who explored himself publicly through his songs and statements.  "When journalists approached him, most of the time he would shock by being completely out there with everything he'd done: 'You want to know what drugs I've had so far today. Well, I had a line of coke at 10 this morning, shot up some heroin at lunchtime and I've just had a joint.' So journalists say, 'I can't dig up any dirt; he's just given it all'." 
Waters isn't obsessed by Lennon and the show isn't one that "throws rose petals at his feet". It was a business decision by a man who has had almost constant work and who found himself in a quiet period. He wanted to take control. 

After the Tilbury season, Waters began work in the concert version of Jesus Christ Superstar and D' Arrietta took the Glass Onion script to New York, the city the pair regard as Lennon's true home.  While there was muted interest from off-Broadway producers, it was Michael White, visiting from London, who grabbed the script enthusiastically. Should the London season be a winner, it is likely Waters will have his wish of performing the show in New York. After years of working for other people, Waters is also revelling in the role of producer. 

"In some ways, I'm getting to be a bit of a power junkie. Stewie and I own the production company, so we've made a few mistakes, learning by 'em as we go along, and I like this. I have a lot more respect for producers in general, because I know just how much it costs in blood and sweat and actual money to get something on." 

Waters let go of the power to take on the lead role in a telemovie that may become a series. Singapore Sling, set in South-East Asia, is the story of an intelligent private investigator and sees Waters leaving the hunky action stuff to a handsome blond German actor 10 years his junior. 

The Eastern connection crosses the Lennon path, however, with Waters learning some Mandarin and Oriental ways. 
"I'd always been interested in things Oriental, ever since I was a professional hippie in Hair. Most of my influences of a philosophical nature have been of the Oriental type. I don't keep a statue of Buddha and burn incense in my own house, but I have read a lot and that's one of the things that attracted me to that character - also, it's a parallel with Lennon." 

Waters likes the fact that Lennon punched holes in pomposity, even taking some of the magic out of the mystic East. He drops into a Liverpudlian accent to deliver a Lennon line about how the Maharishi's desire to bed women had been a problem - although it meant he could relate to him a lot better. "It's always just bringing everything back down to a nice level we can all to relate to," Waters said. "So he (the Maharishi) is not Buddha in an earthly guise; he's just a guy who knows a lot about Oriental philosophy - but he's got a dick the same as the rest of us." 

John Waters has been a feature of the Australian entertainment business for 25 years. The 19-year-old who arrived here hadn't planned a career, but had simply handed over Pound 10 for the trip, thinking he could return in a couple of years. 
He stayed, growing with a film and television industry that was doing likewise in the '70s, taking the most of his opportunities. 
"It's ironic, because we'll be considered a bunch of boys from Down Under bringing a show about John Lennon to London. I rather like that. I could say, 'well, actually, I'm English', but that won't be the perception. In a way, it takes an edge off our nervousness, because we expect a slightly cynical reaction. But I don't expect that to last long, because we're nice guys and, hey, we do a good show." 
TV Week 11 July 1992
Imagine ... John Waters as Lennon: By DENISE EVERTON 6 Sep 2001 Illawarra Mercury
John Waters could never be confused with the former Beatle John Lennon, could he? The obvious answer is no but anyone who has seen the stage production Looking Through A Glass Onion could never dismiss the concept so emphatically. On stage, with shadows from the lighting arrangement fluttering over his face as he explores the essence of the man through song and spoken word, Waters, 52, becomes synonymous with Lennon. He shies away from imitating the artist and cringes (rightly) at any thought that what he does is impersonation, but so emotive is his performance, it lulls the audience into believing anything is possible. 
Such is the strength of this show it has taken on a life of its own, evolving from a fill-in production for the 85-seat Tilbury Hotel in 1992 to a major production featuring a band and string quartet. It has not been a constant process - between 1994 and this year the show was put on ice but the release of the Beatles 1 album and the 20th anniversary of Lennon's death sparked a resurgence of interest. 
Waters wanted to keep the work fresh and challenging so he added a string quartet to his eight-piece band and made a few minor adjustments to the song and speech components of the production. It's a bigger, more rounded production than that which first hit Wollongong in the early '90s but, according to Waters, still retains its trademark intimacy. 
``The show remains essentially the same but musically it has developed," he said. ``It's part concert and part biography though it doesn't seek to tell the full story of Lennon's life. I have made one major narrative and one new song change but there was nothing more I wanted to change. ``It's not more wordy but it is more musically complete. It has a really huge sound now and evokes an era of bigger concerts. I wanted it like that and I wanted to be able to take it to bigger rooms so we added the band and now the string quartet so we can take it to venues with 3000 people." 
Waters created Looking Through A Glass Onion with musician Stewart D'Arrietta to fill a spare five-week season at the Tilbury Hotel and it became such a cult hit, they couldn't let it fold. The show toured until the end of 1994 with a four-piece backing band - including a tough three-month season in London's West End - before Waters decided to pursue other options. 
He has filled in the ensuing years with such productions as An Ideal Husband, the one-man, self-devised cabaret production Cafe Brel about Jacques Brel and sung in French and the left-field role as Captain Von Trapp in The Sound of Music. From October until May 2002 he will also juggle Glass Onion with his role as Mr Robinson in The Graduate. 
Waters wondered if he was making the right decision in revitalising Glass Onion when it returned in March but it didn't take long to realise just how keen people were to embrace the show again. He may even tour it overseas again (pending permission from Yoko Ono) and says taking it to New York's off-Broadway strip would be one of his greatest challenges. Wollongong audiences should be an easier nut to crack. 
Looking Through A Glass Onion is on at the Wollongong Entertainment Centre on September 14 and 15 at 8pm. Bookings can be made through the centre or Ticketek outlets. 
FROM TILBURY TO WEST END  By PETER COCHRANE.  20th July 1993.  Sydney Morning Herald

John Waters is looking through a glass onion at the West End. The Sydney actor will soon join Craig McLachlan (Grease ) and Roanne Monte (Miss Saigon)in London's theatreland.  But unlike McLachlan and Monte, Waters is to star in his own vehicle, Looking Through a Glass Onion. It is expected to open at the 600-seat Criterion Theatre in Piccadilly Circus on or about October 19.  Waters's evocation of John Lennon is currently playing to good houses at the Seymour Centre after a national tour that included two Melbourne seasons. 

The show went on the road after a sell-out season at the tiny Tilbury Hotel, Woolloomooloo, in March last year. Along the way, Waters added a guitarist, bass player and drummer to the line-up. 

Adam Spiegel, a representative of the London producer Michael White, arrived in Sydney on Monday to discuss with Waters a "plan of attack" for the show's West End premiere. He saw Glass Onion for the first time last night.  Spiegel, son of the Hollywood producer Sam Spiegel (The African Queen, The Bridge on the River Kwai and Lawrence of Arabia), said that White would take the "whole package" - Waters and the band led by the co-author Stewart D'Arrietta - to London. 
Waters describes it as a "show in a suitcase".  "It is a cheap show - in terms of weekly overheads - to stage," Spiegel agreed. 

He is hopeful that Waters will provide the hit that has so far eluded the Criterion, despite its prime position, since an art-deco refurbishment last year.  The theatre is owned by Sally Green, who intended it to be a showcase for fringe productions on the West End. Coincidentally, she also runs the Richmond Theatre, where a struggling young actor and rock singer named John Waters trod the boards before migrating at the age of 19.  The Criterion reopened with a transfer from Hampstead Theatre of a show called Making it Better - which didn't - followed by a season of Misery, and is now hosting something called Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens. 

White has presented about 150 shows on the West End. His hits include The Rocky Horror Show, Sleuth, A Chorus Line and the Gershwin tribute Crazy for Love, now in its fourth month at the Prince Edward (and bound for Australia next year, with Cameron Mackintosh as producer).  "Michael heard about Glass Onion from a friend in New York last year, and came out to see it," Spiegel said yesterday. "He saw something like four performances in the week he was here. When he returned to London and told me that he wanted to stage an Australian show about John Lennon, I thought, 'How good could it be?'" 
Adam Spiegel now knows the answer to that question. 
'Glass Onion' a bridge over troubled Waters  By: Jason Steger.  16th April 1994.  THE SUNDAY AGE

Performing his John Lennon show in Britain had a decisive impact on John Waters. A week after returning from a three-month London season, John Waters junked his previous reservations and became an Australian citizen. 

He'd had a trying time.  His John Lennon monologue with music, `Looking Through A Glass Onion', had copped a bucketing from some sections of the British press but had also garnered some fulsome praise.  Waters is still puzzled by the reception the show received. On opening night his performance as Lennon had had the audience leaping out of their seats. The next day the appearance of the `Evening Standard' took the tint out of the rose-colored glasses. ``It said the show was a worthless pile of shit," said Waters. 

Waters hung on for three months, playing to audiences that were ``dry and uptight" and battling to fill the unsuitable Criterion Theatre off the main theatre drag of Shaftesbury Avenue. And there was an unspecified umbrage against someone seen as an Australian actor doing Lennon.  ``There was a resentment that I didn't write a play about the Beatles but that I had the gall to present myself in the persona of John Lennon ... The London press had this proprietorial thing about Lennon but they gave him such shit that he had to leave the country." 

When Waters discovered that the oath of allegiance to the Queen was no longer a compulsory part of the citizenship ceremony he immediately signed on the dotted line - albeit 25 years after he came here. ``I'm quite happy to swear a form of allegiance to Australia and whatever the Australian values might be. I do feel this is a genuinely egalitarian country ... When I arrived in 1968 it was exciting for me but nevertheless a backward country in many respects. But going back to London you realise that not just Australia but other countries are leaving them behind." 

With Waters it's a case of what you see is what you get; there's no affectation or pretence. He doesn't give a damn about the showbiz side of his profession; as one of the producers of `Glass Onion' he's as likely to be counting receipts for T-shirts after the show as sipping champagne. He wants to work and he wants to get involved. He's a strictly roll-your-own bloke rather than a Dunhill devotee.  So he makes no bones about wanting to make some money from the show - as he's put almost two years of his life into it he reckons he deserves it. 

The show had humble beginnings. Waters had committed himself to a five-week spot at the Tilbury Hotel in Sydney and then had to come up with something to perform. He wanted a show that made use of his showbiz experience: rock singer, screen actor and stage actor. The concept preceded the subject and after considering a piece on the Belgian singer Jaques Brel, he returned to an idea he'd had earlier about Lennon. 

``I'd thought of the start, utilising some perfect lyrics that exist to the `Liverpool Lullaby' that not many people here have heard followed by the gunshot and into `I Read The News Today, Oh Boy' (`A Day In The Life'). All this sort of collage of things. I didn't know how it was going to go from there."  Convinced that it should alternate between monologue and song, Waters and his partner Stewart D'Arrietta chose songs that they liked, that had some biographical pertinence, and that could be suitably linked. 

Waters wrote the show in five days, started putting it together, changed a few things, conferred with D'Arrietta as he put down the backing tracks and finally, only four or five days before opening, started running through the show. 

Waters now says he could manage only another six months in the role, which would take him to the end of the current tour. At the end of August, he'll be doing something different, possibly a reprise of his role in the telemovie `Singapore Sling'. But there is still the chance of a stint in New York, a prospect that would have him scampering back for his guitar. It all depends on Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono, and whether she gives her permission.  He's hopeful because he and D'Arrietta have the perfect man lobbying for them. Michael White, the theatrical impresario who put them on in London, just happens to be the man who took Lennon to the London gallery exhibitng Ono's work and introduced the two. 

Waters knows that none of the Beatles has seen the show (``it would be a form of unstated endorsement") but says they all have listened to the CD and thinks it meets with a bit of tacit approval. 

Whatever happens, Waters is keen that his days of only performing are over. In the middle of `Glass Onion' he did the national tour of `Jesus Christ Superstar', singing three songs as Pontius Pilate and getting paid handsomely for performing in front of 15,000 people a night. It was relaxing but not fulfilling. He says he has enjoyed producing this `Glass Onion' tour far more. It's the sense of total commitment and involvement. And now he wants to write another show, produce and direct it ... but not perform in it. 
`Looking Through A Glass Onion' opens at the Comedy Theatre on Tuesday. 
Looking Through A Glass Onion - John Lennon In Word And Music. Author/s: John Waters. Theatre: Criterion Theatre. Opened: Monday 18 October 1993. Closed: Saturday 01 January 1994 

Vaudeville Mixed With Murder. By Sheridan Morley International Herald Tribune. October 20, 1993

At the Criterion, "Looking Through a Glass Onion" is an angry, wiry and wired solo show devoted to the words and music of John Lennon as assembled and performed by John Waters. From the lyricism of "Fool on the Hill" and "Strawberry Fields" through to the exfraternal rage of "How Can You Sleep?," Lennon's savage attack on Paul McCartney, by way of an infinitely gentler go at Yoko Ono ("How come she still looks like a bag lady with a full set of Fifth Avenue credit cards?"), this is a powerfully recalled lament for the more interesting and independent of the Beatles. 
"It's my midlife," as Lennon once said, "and I'll crisis if I want to"; what Waters does best and brilliantly is to cut through the Muzak of the Beatles to the icy heart of their most intriguing and difficult leader. 
At the Criterion, "Looking Through a Glass Onion" is an angry, wiry and wired solo show devoted to the words and music of John Lennon as assembled and performed by John Waters. From the lyricism of "Fool on the Hill" and "Strawberry Fields" through to the exfraternal rage of "How Can You Sleep?," Lennon's savage attack on Paul McCartney, by way of an infinitely gentler go at Yoko Ono ("How come she still looks like a bag lady with a full set of Fifth Avenue credit cards?"), this is a powerfully recalled lament for the more interesting and independent of the Beatles. 
"It's my midlife," as Lennon once said, "and I'll crisis if I want to"; what Waters does best and brilliantly is to cut through the Muzak of the Beatles to the icy heart of their most intriguing and difficult leader. 
Home: Bio/UpdatesGlass Onion HistoryReviews: Early to mid 90sReviews: 2001Reviews & Dates: 2002
Reviews & Dates: 2004Reviews & Dates: 2007Reviews & Dates:2010/11Glass Onion Tour Facebook PageGlass Onion Facebook Page
Lennon:Through A Glass Onion. New York 2014Lennon On StageLennonOnStage Facebook Page