LAZARUS | fivethreeninety

My mum celebrated a big birthday last November, so my sister & I wanted to get her something truly special & treat her to something that she would love.

My mum is a big lover of music, & of television shows. One of her all time favourite musicians is David Bowie, & her shows Dexter; so what better experience for her than to see Bowie’s play Lazarus, with Dexter himself Michael C Hall in lead role? 
After an ordeal with finding tickets my mum & I set out to Kings Cross Theatre on Friday night to see one of the final performances before the show’s run finished today, January 22nd. And we had the best time.

Lazarus is a by David Bowie & Enda Walsh, a stage musical continuation of Nicholas Roeg’s 1976 film The Man Who Fell to Earth. The original film tells the tale of Thomas Jerome Newton, a man who comes to earth in search of water to save his home planet, who is in the midst of suffering from an immense drought. 

Lazarus’s story picks up where the film left of – with Thomas in a lost state, an isolated drunk in a small apartment with only an assistant & the occasional passer by to comfort him.

Michael C Hall is haunting in Bowie’s role. From the second you see him he is nothing but Thomas Newton, not Dexter nor any other of his famed roles. The way he acts is so precise that he doesn’t even look the same, & you find yourself catching glimpses of David Bowie in his performance.
The Girl, Played by Sophie Anne Caruso was stunning. Her presence & her voice are astounding, & ber naivety & softness make her completely endearing. The chemistry between her & Michael C. Hall is incredible &indescribable.
Amy Lennox stars as Newton’s assistant, Elly, & she is fantastic. She so flawlessly moves through the personalities her character has & her solo of Changes is jaw dropping.

Michael Esper as Valentine is dangerously hypnotic, & is definitely an actor to watch. The character is psychotic but enticing, terrifying yet intriguing & Esper balances it to a tee.

The story is wonderful. It’s surreal & real at the same time, chaotic & rich but eventual gives a peaceful sense of closure to Thomas Newton’s story.
The set was fantastic. There is no curtain, so when you walk into the theatre the set is bare to you – complete with Michael C Hall wandering aimlessly about it. It’s a large beige space, a bed at one end & a refrigerator at the other, with a small shrine of Bowie’s discography propped against the wall with a turntable at the front of the stage left. 

The back of the stage has two large windows, behind which is the band (who are incredible, obviously). There’s curtains to the side that can be pulled across these windows, & at the very centre is a large screen which plays everything from newsreel footage to special effects to live streams of what’s happening on stage. It’s a constant reminder of the state of Newton’s brain & I love it.
There’s also a lot of projection onto the entire stage which is startlingly amazing. At one point, a projection of the stage is shown where something alternative to what’s actually being performed live is happening & if was mind blowing, really incredible use of projection. 

The costume is so simplistic but so effective. Newton spends the entire performance in a shirt & trousers the same bland shade as the room; The Girl mostly in a simple white dress, Valentine & Michael in suits – but the most interesting by far is Elly’s wardrobe. Her clothing & appearance dramatically changes alongside her dramatic character arch, beginning the performance in boot cut jeans & a hoody & slowly transforming into a different person all together in fishnets & silk. 

The whole aesthetic of the show is inspired & intriguing, in true Bowie fashion. There are key moments unlike anything else that make perfect, unique postcard moments for the show, like Elly resting against the fridge, Thomas lifting Elly, the Girl & Elly either side of Thomas in identical attire & Thomas lying on drawings on the ground at the end.

The music is obviously incredible. It’s brilliant to see the musicians so clearly & really keep the focus on the music – it’s the music that made it happen after all. The cast bring so much life to the music; Michael C Hall is downright haunting at embodying Bowie’s voice & is an absolute surprise talent that makes you long to see him in more singing roles. Sophia Ann Caruso’s rendition of Life of Mars was shockingly brilliant, & left the entire crowd visibly moved from the passion she put into that one solo.
The musical is set out so that the audience don’t have time to clap until the very end of the show, but there was quick cheering after Michael Esper’s performance of Valentine’s Day before the full house standing ovation at the end of the performance. 

Lazarus was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. It’s obvious that it came straight from Bowie’s mind, & ended up being a fantastic tribute to him. As a theatre lover I adored it, & as a Bowie lover my Mum adored it. 

If it ever shows again, make sure you get tickets pronto.

Lazarus finishes its current run at Kings Cross Theatre, London today.


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