Last December I went to see Lazarus which was the musical written by David Bowie and Enda Walsh. This musical is a sort of continuation of The Man Who Fell To Earth. If you have time go look at how Bowie was inspired by his previous songs to create something new. It’s so cool to see Space Oddity turn into Ashes to Ashes. Major Tom then appears again in the Blackstar music video where he has died on the moon and all that is left is a skeleton in a space suit. It might be a little depressing but it’s also really cool to see the progression.
The Man Who Fell To Earth started off as a book written by Walter Tevis which was then turned into a movie. Bowie starred as the main character – Thomas Newton – in the movie which (as you may have guessed) is about an alien who comes to Earth looking for water. People on Earth figure out he is an alien and he is held prisoner, at some point during this I’m assuming his ship is destroyed. The book ends with him a depressed alcoholic who watches television and has no way to get home (I would say reading the book is a good idea before seeing this, I didn’t have thinking back some things would have made more sense knowing their significance). Lazarus starts out many many years later. With Thomas Newton still an alcoholic recluse just wanting to get home. And this is the point it gets confusing.
I think the music was the best bit of this whole show. We didn’t have the best seats (which is more a problem with the theatre than the show) but it really didn’t matter because the band was fantastic and it was Bowie music which is of course going to be great. It’s actually quite creepy how similar Michael C. Hall sounds to Bowie. I really liked the fact that Bowie actually sings at one point (obviously it’s a recording but still). There is also a moment where one actor starts dancing, but he is light from behind so all you see is his silhouette, and I’m not joking it was almost as if Bowie was on stage dancing. It looked exactly like what I’ve seen in videos. Super creepy and also pretty cool.
The overwhelming feeling I got from this is a large part of the dialogue especially, though it applied to Thomas Newton wanting to go home. You could also put David Bowie in his place and it would still work. So many of the lines, especially at the end make note of the fact he’s moving on. You also have the fact that the musical starts out with the song Lazarus. Not sure about everyone else but I didn’t actually listen to Lazarus till after I heard about Bowie passing and the first thing you hear is ‘look up here, I’m in heaven’. I feel sad saying it but I genuinely believe we only have this musical because Bowie got cancer. So much of it felt like him trying to say goodbye. And that just makes me feel sad. Some people fade into obscurity but it was as if Bowie knew he was going to die and wanted to make an occasion out of it.
I realise this is technically a musical but I would describe it more as art. This is made most obvious at the end where you see Michael C. Hall and Sophia Anne Caruso roll about the stage covered in milk while singing Heroes. The whole production is very Bowie and I think thats the best thing I could say about it.