Entertainment & Arts

Critics find Bowie Lazarus musical 'weird'

Sophia Anne Caruso, left, and Michael C. Hall perform in a scene from David Bowie and Enda Walsh's "Lazarus," currently performing off-Broadway at the New York Theatre Workshop in New York Image copyright Jan Versweyveld
Image caption The musical features the songs of David Bowie

Lazarus, the new musical featuring the songs of David Bowie, has opened to mixed reviews in New York.

Inspired by Bowie's starring role in the 1976 cult film The Man Who Fell to Earth, he co-wrote the show with Irish playwright Enda Walsh, the award-winning writer of Once.

Time Out, gave it 3/5, saying it "lacked originality and depth."

But The Guardian described the production as "unapologetically weird... and oddly intriguing".

Image copyright NYTW
Image caption The show is about a stranded alien living on earth

Telling the story of a human-looking alien who comes to Earth, the production is directed by Belgian Ivo van Hove, whose recent productions include the sell-out A View From the Bridge starring Mark Strong.

The cast includes Michael C Hall, who starred in hit TV series Dexter and Cristin Milioti, who starred in the stage version of Once.

Rolling Stone said that although Lazarus bears "all the earmarks of a bad idea" being a continuation of another story, with a single-artist soundtrack, "the plot is coherent, the songs are great and the performances are kinetic". It praised the show as a "surrealistic tour de force."

'Pretentious... fascinating'

The New York Times described it as a "great-sounding, great-looking and mind-numbing new musical" and criticised the script, calling it a "flat-footed, literal-minded exposition".

The Chicago Tribune, and The Hollywood Reporter also held mixed opinions.

The Tribune felt all was not "hunky-dory" but said it "feels fixable," adding Lazarus "has the visual sophistication, the pan-sexual weirdness, the historicism, the eclectic musical rush of the gorgeous".

Meanwhile The Hollywood Reporter described it as "an alienation alt-musical that channels the trippy dream state of an alcoholic extraterrestrial insomniac. So the two intermission-less hours of Lazarus are predictably strange, often impenetrable and a tad pretentious, but always fascinating, even when distancing".

James C Nicola, the artistic director of the New York Theatre Workshop, said the show had been in secret development for some years.

Bowie surprised his fans in 2013 when he suddenly released a new single on his 66th birthday - followed by a new album - after a 10-year hiatus.

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