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December 7th 2016

In a year of striking loss of notable people, David Bowie leaves us a musical to confound our shattered minds.


Bowie Lazarus

In a transformed and magical Kings Cross, a spacious pop-up theatre with black walls and dark corridors is playing host to a musical based on the songs by David Bowie. The set is ominously neutral, a kind of fawn colour is everywhere. Fawn bedcovers are strewn over a bed and, already on stage, the leading actor is dressed head to toe in fawn as the audience is ushered to their seats. A band is poised to play behind aquarium glass windows draped with fawn curtains.

Lazarus picks up where the film The Man Who Fell to Earth, written by Walter Tevis and starring David Bowie left off. Bowie’s original character, the alien Thomas Newton, played admirably here by Michael C Hall, has succumbed to a life of perpetual gin and Twinkies after being abandoned by his lover Mary Lou. His personal assistant Elly, a sexual anorexic, becomes obsessed with Mary Lou, colouring her hair to look like her and wearing her left-behind clothes. As Newton’s mental health unravels, a muse appears in a form of a girl (gifted newcomer 15 year old Sophia Anne Caruso) who tells him she knows a way he can return to his home planet. But with her comes a host of dark entities who commit unspeakable acts and force Newton to do the same. The intensity creates madness, addiction and a desire to escape reality.

Songs such as Lazarus, Changes, Sound and Vision, Heroes, It's No Game, Absolute Beginners and Where Are We Now from Blackstar, Hunky Dory, Low, Heroes, Scary Monsters, Absolute Beginners, and The Next Day respectively are interpreted by the original New York cast whilst colourful projections, sticky tape, strange liquids, sex and violence animate the fawn backdrop. David Bowie’s last public appearance was the opening night of Lazarus off Broadway in December 2015. He has left a musical cannon that will resonate forever and Lazarus reflects the fragility and frustrations of our imperfect life on earth.

Photo (c) Sam Burcher 2016 .            

Lazarus plays until 21 January 2017 at the Kings Cross Theatre