‘I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring,’ David Bowie, 1997.
Perhaps there was just nowhere to go with the story, if only we could have resurrected just a small flavour of Bowie’s 1970’s Diamond Dogs and breathed a bit more into the whole thing. It might be too fashionable; given that the bowels of London has had the runs for flashy productions for decades; but at least it wouldn’t resemble a hipster coffee morning for extraterrestrials.
If you’ve stumbled into a modern art gallery in the last century: You’ve pretty much seen it all before. It’s all right in front of you the moment you enter the theatre; like a glimpse into Andy Warhol’s bedroom; There’s a fridge full of gin, there’s a little Bowie shrine and a vast ‘television’ which basically fills in the gaps and makes the whole thing feel a bit like American Idol on Mars.
The minimalism doesn’t just limit itself to the set however, the plot is as waifish and incoherent as Bowie on milk and chillies way back in 1975. The addled alien Thomas Newton is now a wet brained wreck, living on Gin and Twinkies.
Somewhere along the way; his housekeeper suddenly decides to fancy him, rather than pity him and there’s some sort of Yuppie murder plot going on in the background. Overall, the characters take it in turns to break up all the vagueness with a couple of Bowie hits, Sometimes it works, But it’s limited by the need for Michael C. Hall to deliver everything every line as if he’s just had his breakfast (yes, more Gin).
By trying too hard to break away from The Man Who Fell To Earth and the generally lighter sides of Bowie: all we are getting with Lazarus is some sort of knowing, actorly stage show with Balloons, Geishas and Milk.
Obliquely put: It’s cold ice, hardly masquerading any fire.It begins suddenly, it ends suddenly; but still how the audience clapped and for £25 and the sheer effort the cast put in; perhaps it was worth it…Just for one day.