Something Something Lazarus
Kings Head Theatre until 2nd April
By Broken Cabaret
Book and lyrics by John Myatt, Music by Simon Arrowsmith
Something Something Lazarus certainly gives audiences a night to remember; I was presented with an Elaine Paige sticker on the way in, which to be honest means I’ve already had the best evening of my life. Completely unconventional, the company have set out to create a new kind of musical, Something Something Lazarus is musical theatre as you’ve (probably) never seen it before. Dark, macabre and reflective of the cabaret scene, it’s to be commended in its experimentalism. It’s made some bold moves, and has succeeded in creating something completely off the wall, both in style and narrative, which for me worked, but as Director Dan Phillips said, it’s a bit like Marmite.
A solo keyboard on stage provides the music – as does an I-Pad (which they use several times to create a beat) it’s a practical way to create music on stage; there is no smoke, or mirrors in the creation of this, but seeing the mechanics of the piece was somewhat satisfying.
There feels to be a slight divide between the first and second half, the second half more energetic with whole company numbers as well as solo ones. Daisy Amphlett as Della shines in her solo song, when she brings out an array of instruments and demonstrates her skill on all, this was devilishly funny and a highlight of the evening.
The piece is largely pinned on eight seconds which we know will result in either life or death for Jay, played by Daniel Cech-Lucas, who creates a character that we’re less than fond of – he’s the irritating, spoilt member of the foursome, however as we see him fight for his life against strangulation in a fraught and theatrically drawn out, eight seconds, I felt some compassion towards him, if only a little. During the ‘eight seconds’ all of the company get their chance to shine in a solo song, especially Vee [Valerie Cutko], whose number in a slinky dress on the small cabaret stage is both striking and memorable.
Dan Phillips succeeds with direction, and has managed to create a chaotic feel on stage, which palpably mirrors the chaos in the lives of the characters; least of all Daniel [Ralph Bogard], who is clearly still in the throngs of breakup misery from a past relationship, all but losing it when his ex returns a chair that they once bought together. It feels messy and monotonous (not in pace, but in atmosphere), which again mirrors the reality for these four characters trapped in the same place day in day out, there’s a sense of their being being stuck in a rut, which clearly translates.
If you’re a fan of the cabaret scene, then you should definitely head down to the Kings Head Theatre to catch this, it feels like Broken Cabaret are just starting on a voyage of discovery, and I suspect are on to something very marvellous indeed.