I have obviously been living under a rock recently, because when I was asked if I wanted to go see the musical Lazarus I didn’t know anything about it until the next sentence: “it’s by Enda Walsh and David Bowie”. But as soon as I heard these two names I knew I had to take up this offer!
In case you can’t already tell, I really didn’t know what to expect from this musical, other than it is adapted from a movie (The Man Who Fell to Earth) and it was probably going to be something creative and slightly strange – but even that was a guess. And to be honest, even now I still don’t know what to make of it entirely! (Other than, yes, it was indeed very creative – in a way that only Walsh and Bowie could be.)
Like Once (Walsh’s previous foray into musicals, which I have written about here) this was more of a play with music written into it, rather than a more ‘traditional’ West End style. What made this work so well is Bowie was obviously fully involved in the whole creative process, with his songs re-arranged to fit the emotions of the scenes (some of which I thought were done beautifully).
Naturally the actors gave great performances, particularly Michael C Hall (playing Newton) who perfected Bowie’s accent and singing style, and Sophia Anne Caruso (playing Girl) who was outstanding in both her acting and singing (particularly her rendition of ‘Life on Mars’) for only 15 years old.
What really blew me away though was the innovative use of technology, most notably projections: pre-recorded videos played simultaneously with the live performances, animations and doubling of actors on-stage – all created with projections. This production really made me re-think what is possible on stage.
Yes, the plot was rather confusing; I didn’t always understand what was going on, but it didn’t seem to matter that much. For me (and I’m sure many others), my attention was on the creativity of the performance and bringing Bowie’s songs to life. This was such a nice way to finish this year that David Bowie passed away, and what better way to remember him than this show.
Photos taken from the official website: http://www.lazarusmusical.com