I am not a David Bowie fan. And I mean this with the biggest respect. I like some of his songs. I appreciate his talent. I just cannot call myself an actual fan and I certainly do not have huge knowledge of his work.
I am saying this to make it clear that I did not buy a ticket for Lazarus because it is “the David Bowie musical”. I simply wanted to watch a new piece of musical theatre and I admit the prospect of seeing Michael C. Hall on stage did help to sway me in the direction of the show.
Having now seen Lazarus I am not quite sure I can say what exactly I witnessed on that stage at King’s Cross Theatre. But one thing I know for sure: This show is innovative, thrilling, different and it spoke to me in a way I am having trouble to explain.
Michael C. Hall’s performance is a revelation. For the duration of the show (it runs at 1:50 hours without an interval) Michael C. Hall IS Thomas Newton, the man who fell to earth and is now spending all of his time in a stale New York apartment. Mary Lou, the love of his life, has left him and he is subsisting on gin and Twinkies. It would be easy to say Michael C. Hall is simply playing David Bowie as Thomas Newton. It would also be wrong although his voice has a chilling resemblance to David Bowie at times. There is not a single moment in which Michael C. Hall is slipping out of his role. And it would be so easy considering he spends some time just sitting outside of the spotlight watching his fellow cast members. But he is 100% there the whole time (and he rarely leaves the stage).
Speaking of the rest of the cast: Sophia Anne Caruso as the unearthly girl who visits Thomas in his apartment and knows everything about him is mesmerising to watch. Amy Lennox gives a solid performance as Elly – Thomas Newton’s assistant who starts turning into the blue-haired Mary Lou – but she does not manage to shine next to Sophia Anne Caruso and Michael C. Hall. Michael Esper is wonderfully creepy as Valentine, the show’s “bad guy” (but does he really do all those horrible things or are they just part of Thomas Newton’s confused imagination?).
The staging appears simple at first but quickly becomes a tour de force of projections that make you feel like you are trapped in a science fiction fantasy – and maybe you are because nothing you see really happens (or does it?).
I left the theatre feeling completely floored by what I just witnessed. It does sound strange but I could not sum up what this show is actually about even if my life depended on it. But this piece of theatre captured my mind completely and refused to let it go. I felt drawn into the weird “world” of Thomas Newton.
There is no way I can predict if someone will enjoy this show. For once I am saying you will either love or hate it and both opinions are completely valid. Lazarus is not your typical musical. It speaks to you on a different level – or maybe it does not. Either way, I suggest you give it a try. The worst that can happen is you end up spending a confusing evening listening to David Bowie songs.
Lazarus is running at the King’s Cross Theatre until January 21st 2016. For more info and to book tickets visit https://lazarusmusical.com/.