David Bowie’s musical Lazarus had its opening night in London last night.
Lazarus’ original run took place in New York shortly before Bowie’s death earlier this year – indeed, the star made his final public performance at its opening night there in December 2015. So it was a poignant occasion as the production transferred to London’s Kings Cross Theatre, complete with several members of the original cast, including Michael C Hall in the starring role (essentially playing Bowie playing Thomas Newton in The Man Who Fell To Earth).
As you’d expect, Bowie’s presence looms large over the production, which acts as a sequel to The Man Who Fell To Earth, and features songs from throughout his career as well as three specially-composed numbers. A picture of him saluting appears as the cast take their final bows.
Opening night attracted a number of celebrity fans, most notably actor Jude Law, plus big names from the music, theatre and media industries. The show opened to mixed reviews: The Guardian declared itself “more impressed by the visual sophistication than emotionally engaged by the story” while the Telegraph said “a lot of factors conspire against Lazarus being as much a pleasure as a commemorative duty”.
The Music Week verdict? It’s visually stunning, can be aurally challenging (at least when Hall isn’t taking the lead – although being able to see the live band through Perspex screens at the back of the stage is a nice touch), while the “plot” is more than occasionally mentally bewildering. If you’re looking for a Mamma Mia-style jukebox musical, then, you may be disappointed, but if you love the artier end of Bowie’s work, you’ll find loads to enjoy.
Lazarus continues until January 22, 2017.