The Third Leader: So bad, it's good

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The Independent Online

As a result, incurable optimists remarkable even in a world remarkable for incurable optimists have staged such classics - prepare your wince - as Bernadette, Which Witch, Gone With the Wind, Out of the Blue, and, most recently, The Man in the Iron Mask. (Out of the Blue? It was, thanks Mel, about the bombing of Nagasaki, and is usually referred to as "Into the Red".)

And now, just opened on Broadway, Lennon. The portents were never good - particularly the heavy involvement of the widow they love to hate, Yoko - and the reviews were not kind. Apart from disagreement on exactly how many actors are playing Lennon, there has been a cruellest-crack competition, with The Journal News - "Oh, No" - narrowly pipped by The New York Times: "In the immortal words of Yoko Ono, 'Aieeeee!' "

It could have been worse. You might recall Coward on Bonnie Langford and an incontinent horse in Gone With the Wind: "If they had shoved the child's head up the horse's arse they would have solved two problems at once." Or this, on the Master's own Pacific 1860, where one song was described as stirring the audience "to a semblance of life".

But we talk of a world, where, to quote Mr Hammerstein, they are "stuck like a dope with this thing called hope". And this was an early view on Oklahoma!: "No girls, no legs, no jokes, no chance."

We say: Chin up, Yoko, girl!