‘Lazarus’: David Bowie’s mu­si­cal legacy opens in Lon­don

Kuwait Times - - LIFESTYLE -

David Bowie’s mu­si­cal “Lazarus” has ar­rived in Lon­don, with an open­ing line evok­ing the spirit of the late Bri­tish star: “Look up here, I’m in heaven.” The play’s run in the Bri­tish cap­i­tal brings Bowie’s legacy back to his home city nearly a year af­ter he died on Jan­uary 10 fol­low­ing a 10-month bat­tle with can­cer. Bowie, who grew up in Lon­don’s Brix­ton neigh­bor­hood, made his last pub­lic ap­pear­ance at the show’s gala night in New York on De­cem­ber 7 last year.

The som­bre mu­si­cal is in­spired by Wal­ter Tre­vis’s 1963 sci­ence fic­tion novel, “The Man Who Fell To Earth”, which was turned into a 1976 film fea­tur­ing Bowie in the lead role. “Lazarus” re­counts the tor­mented life of Thomas New­ton, an alien in the guise of a hu­man who finds him­self on Earth and in­ca­pable of dy­ing. He lives with just a tele­vi­sion and a bot­tle of gin for com­pany-un­til the ar­rival of “an­other lost soul” who could set him free, that is. “With ‘Lazarus’, it is quite clear to me that Bowie de­lib­er­ately placed his own death on stage,” said the mu­si­cal’s Bel­gian di­rec­tor, Ivo van Hove, fol­low­ing Bowie’s pass­ing.

His death at 69 left mil­lions of fans mourn­ing the singer-song­writer ge­nius, who contributed hugely to shap­ing the mu­sic scene and pop­u­lar cul­ture. Co-writ­ten by Bowie and Ir­ish play­wright Enda Walsh, “Lazarus” is now show­ing un­til the end of Jan­uary at Lon­don’s King’s Cross The­atre. In dis­cussing the mu­si­cal with Bowie, Walsh said they talked about how a per­son experiences death: “We started talk­ing about es­cape but we ended up talk­ing about a per­son try­ing to find rest. About dy­ing in an eas­ier way.” The mu­si­cal ad­dresses themes close to Bowie: the search for iden­tity, the feel­ing of soli­tude and aban­don­ment, and re­la­tion­ships with oth­ers and the world.

On stage, New­ton is played by Michael C Hall, known for his role as the un­der­taker in the TV show “Six Feet Un­der”, and a killer in the se­ries “Dex­ter”. The Amer­i­can ac­tor, who is dressed in py­ja­mas through­out the play, comes into his own while singing, dur­ing which his voice at times re­calls that of Bowie. He is joined on stage by 15year-old Sophia Anne Caruso, who de­spite her ten­der years plays op­po­site Hall as if a stage vet­eran. The min­i­mal set fea­tures a bed, a fridge, a hand­ful of ac­ces­sories, and a huge ver­ti­cal screen fea­tur­ing dig­i­tal images or videos, such as the fall of the Ber­lin Wall, which of­fer a coun­ter­point to the tale. In lit­tle un­der two hours the mu­si­cal show­cases 17 Bowie songs, in­clud­ing some of his big­gest hits such as “Life on Mars” and “He­roes”. The track “Lazarus” is also fea­tured from Bowie’s 25th and fi­nal al­bum, “Black­star”, which was re­leased two days be­fore his death. — AFP

Michael C Hall and Sophia Anne Caruso per­form in the David Bowie cre­ated stage show Lazarus dur­ing a press pre­view in Lon­don. — AFP

Ac­tor Idris Elba presents an award, dur­ing the MTV Euro­pean Mu­sic Awards 2016, in Rot­ter­dam, Nether­lands. — AP

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