With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

Music trivia, useless info, extra added random stuff and the odd rant from me

Lazarus – Kings Cross Theatre London Saturday 29th October 2016 November 2, 2016


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Many regular readers will know that I am not a big fan of musicals. However there have been some exceptions to that rule for me; Sweeney Todd and Grease are two of those. But a musical that David Bowie wrote with Enda Walsh which debuted in New York a few weeks before he died? Well I was never going to miss that was I? My lovely wife Catherine a.k.a Catwoman accompanied me to London on Saturday for the matinee performance of Lazarus which opened in October and runs through to January. It is in the Kings Cross Theatre which is effectively a pop-up theatre on land owned by Google at the back of Kings Cross station. For a pop-up it is pretty damned good.

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Lazarus is a sequel to The Man Who Fell To Earth and most of you probably know that David Bowie played the lead role of Thomas Jerome Newton in the Nic Roeg directed film version of the Walter Tevis book in 1976. It was his first major film role. The stage musical recounts the life of Newton after he was prevented from leaving earth. He is spiralling into a total mental meltdown and spends his day becoming more paranoid, watching TV, drinking gin and reminiscing of past loves; his wife on his own planet and Mary Lou here on earth.

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The lead role of Thomas Jerome Newton is taken by Michael C Hall off of Dexter. We were lucky enough to see him, despite our tickets being for the matinĂ©e. He has a great singing voice although occasionally his speaking voice did simply sound like Dexter. But that is by no means a distraction he is an incredibly talented actor and singer. In fact the whole cast are supremely talented. When I first saw the songs included within the Lazarus musical I was a little surprised. There are a few big hits and the ones that worked best for me were “The Man Who Sold The World” and a magnificent and very different version of “Heroes” which closed the show. There are some songs written especially for the musical; “No Plan”, “Killing A Little Time” and “When I Met You”. Those three as recorded by David Bowie were recently released as CD 2 of the cast recording. I have never had great affection for Bowie’s 80s albums however there were some fabulous singles in that time and “This Is Not America” and “Absolute Beginners” work incredibly well in this context.

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I was amazed at how well all the songs fitted the musical’s story line so well. It was as if they were all written especially for it. I never would have expected “It’s No Game” from ‘Scary Monsters’ to work as part of a stage musical but it really does as does “Always Crashing In The Same Car” from ‘Low’. But the highlights for me were “Valentine’s Day” and “Where Are We Now” (both taken from ‘The Next Day), “Lazarus” from ‘Black Star’ and the previously mentioned “Heroes”. The story is very cleverly written and flows really smoothly. The set is quite sparse and this allows a total free space for the cast to weave their magic. The use of some very different lighting and the giant TV screen contributes in a complimentary way to the whole experience. There are seventeen songs performed during the show along with two songs that get played in the background; Mr Bowie’s “Sound And Vision” and Ricky Nelson‘s “Hello Mary Lou“. You will have needed to have watched the film of ‘The Man Who Fell To Earth’ to get the inclusion of that Ricky Nelson classic.

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All in all this is a magnificent, heart warming and heart-rending show and it acts as a poignant reminder of the true talent that left this world when David Bowie died in January. My good lad Catwoman said that had she not been married to me she probably wouldn’t have bothered to come and see Lazarus. However she enthused about it just as much as me afterwards. We both loved it and I am sure that you will too whether you are a Bowie fan or not. I would love to hear your thoughts if you have already seen it in London or New York.

 

“We have climbed so high, never wanna die” January 15, 2011


I used to have this poster on my bedroom wall as a teenager

I won’t go as far as addressing you as constant reader as Stephen King does, but I will say dear regular reader thank you for coming to this blog every so often. In particular a big thank you to those of you who send me links to stories that might be worth posting about. I do try to use all of them, although I haven’t done much of that in recent weeks. However I intend to rectify that today with a double whammy of two car related stories. The first was provided by my good friend Nick Horslen and the second from yet another good friend, Tom Wycks. Strangely or appropriately both are car related, so perhaps you can guess the kind of songs that will follow!

Apparently a few days ago whilst out and about in LA actor Peter Fonda discovered a dead body in a car. It wasn’t his, I mean the car wasn’t his, but then neither was the body, but that would have been a hell of a story too wouldn’t it? he saw the body slumped over the wheel and reported it to police. I wonder if he thought it might have been George Michael asleep at the wheel again. You can read the Fonda and the Dead Body (now that’s a good name for an indie band don’t you think?) story on the Guardian website. There are a couple of easy music links to any story involving Peter Fonda. Firstly his involvement in acting and co writing the film Easy Rider means I simply have to include the magnificent “Born To Be Wild” by Steppenwolf from the soundtrack of the movie. This song was said by many to be the first heavy metal song, whether that is true or not it may well be the first song to use the phrase in its lyrics. Secondly it is Peter Fonda’s voice that you can hear sampled on Primal Scream‘s excellent “Loaded”

Nick Cave 1 Speed Camera Nil

The second story is now a few weeks old, but it involves gruff Aussie Crooner Nick Cave who attacked a speed camera in Hove with his car. Now I don’t condone vandalism, but frankly there must be a modicum of praise given to someone who decommissioned a speed camera. But somehow I don’t think the police and the judiciary will see it that way. But joking aside for a moment whilst Nick’s Jaguar was obviously damaged both he and his 10-year-old twin sons were fine. You can read the story here on the BBC News site.

So moving along a car and road travel theme here are a few related songs for you pleasure;

 

 
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