Where to begin? Perhaps a description of the show? That in itself is hard enough. Lazarus is a musical by David Bowie and Enda Walsh, based off the book, The Man Who Fell To Earth by Walter Tevis. It’s a fairly new musical, however calling it a musical, is slightly an understatement, as, I would say, it was indefinable.
The production, was very Bowie-esque, obviously, as it was written by him. The story, characters and execution was very futuristic and dystopic. The plot itself is not something I can describe. It is an absurdist musical, with a very odd plot, if you take it metaphorically or literally, it is still a beautiful story. If you look it, as the latter, it is a melancholic, and beautiful story of a man slowly losing his grip on reality, surrounded by characters doing the same. Either way it doesn’t make much sense. The music fitted surprisingly well, and of course, with Bowie’s passing earlier this year, it made the songs and the whole story, that much more emotional. (2016 really fucked us over didn’t it?)
Michael Esper, Valentine, was brilliant. His dark energy captured the psychotic elements of the musical, with such presence on stage, despite playing a socially awkward character for most of the show. I had previously seen him in The Glass Menagerie in Edinburgh, and it was such a different performance. Amy Lennox, Elly, again an actress I have seen before, perfectly portrayed the image of someone slowly losing her identity, and losing all sense of herself. Finally, Michael C. Hall, and Hannah Rose Thompson, Newton, and Girl, had brilliant chemistry with each other, a beautiful father/daughter relationship. Their wistful rendition of ‘Heroes’ at the end of the production, had me in tears. There are so many moments in this production that I could point out and exclaim how much I loved the images created, however I will refrain.
Speaking of images, visually, it was astounding. I don’t even know where to begin with it. The band where visible throughout the whole piece, through glass windows at the back of the stage. The use of projection throughout the whole piece was something remarkable, it immersed you within the show, despite the stage having very clear boundaries. It plunged the audience into Newton’s mind. I can’t explain it any further. It has to be something you see.
I went to see it, not sure of what to expect, actually thinking, that I wouldn’t even like it. I left in awe, I also got the chance to meet Michael Esper, which was amazing. But definitely go and see it if you have the chance, even if you don’t think it’s your cup of tea. It’s an experience.
A beautiful, incoherent, chaotic, mess of a show.