The snow is playing havoc with audiences, so if you are in central London and fancy a show this afternoon or this evening, we have complimentary tickets to Onassis at the Novello Theatre
To download tickets: http://www.seefilmfirst.com/pin/959851
The twentieth century was full of larger than life supermen and superwomen, from the monsters like Hitler to the saints like Mother Teresa. The Greek super-rich have occupied a particular place in this pantheon, and in his time Aristotle Onassis was the richest and most prominent of all, at least in the eyes of the general public. Just as the Russian proverb says that Moscow is ?a city without limits?, so the Onassis life seemed to be ?without limits, in terms of money, sex, power and infinite freedom. Onassis seemed to be able to go where he liked, make money beyond the dreams of avarice, sleep with the most beautiful women and influence world events. These threads all converged in his passion for Jacqueline Kennedy. The life of a millionaire ship-owner also seemed to be peculiarly symbolic, in that he grew up in the chaos of the eastern Mediterranean after the First World War and the 1923 Smyrna Disaster when most Greeks had to leave what is now modern Turkey. It is a horrible overused word, but his path was truly iconic, applied to a man coming from a culture where the family icons were often all that could be carried with you out of the old Asia Minor home after the wreckage of war. His ruthless ambition and overwhelming egotism can be traced to those days, when all he owned as a young man arriving to make his fortune in Buenos Aires were the clothes he stood up in. He was obsessed with the ancient Homeric stories of heroes and gods, and for many years read little else. The ancient gods had similar lives in his opinion to the mid-twentieth century super-rich, acting beyond practical limits. In their own way, the Kennedy clan in the United States was similar, with a near royal status above society. Both had elements who seemed to think that the moral law was irrelevant to them, from Onassis? ruthless early deals with ex-World War Two ?Liberty Ships? in New York that laid the foundations of his major fortune, to Joseph Kennedy?s indifference to the fate of the United Kingdom facing Nazi Germany. But love can turn back upon itself and become hatred, and Onassis came to hate much of what the Kennedy clan stood for in the liberal, but deeply Roman Catholic, first family of American life at that time. That much is certain. The details are not. This year is the 40th anniversary of the death of Bobby Kennedy. He represented a certain kind of idealism for most liberal and open-minded Americans, much as Barack Obama has captured that agenda today. It is inherently universalist, and the polar opposite of the kind of practical egotism and near-pagan celebration of material life that Onassis gloried in. They did not mix. It is fascinating to speculate on how the triangle between them worked ? Onassis, Jacqueline and Bobby ? with the deeply tragic figure of the great opera singer Maria Callas in the shadowy wings, rejected in love by the ship-owner. It is, whatever interpretation anyone has of the events, one of the seminal stories of the twentieth century. In his books on Onassis, Ari and Nemesis, Peter Evans captures with great skill the strange ambience of the world of the shipping magnate, the glamour, the wealth and often the underlying amorality. It was a world of a particular time and space, peopled by inhabitants with an often superhuman quality but who in the end could not avoid the ordinary pitfalls of life that affect everybody.
Running Time: 120 mins