Following a well-received run in New York, Lazarus, a hallucinatory musical co-written by David Bowie and Enda Walsh, will land in London this autumn.
Lazarus is based on The Man Who Fell to Earth, the story of a humanoid alien left stranded and unable to die, after being driven from drought on his own planet. The novel, by Walter Tevis, was first adapted into a film starring Bowie in 1976 – this new stage version interpolates Bowie songs into a more impressionistic take on the material.
Dexter and Six Feet Under actor Michael C Hall, who plays the central alien character Newton, will reprise the role alongside fellow original cast members Michael Esper and Sophia Anne Caruso. The production is directed by Ivo van Hove, the Dutch tyro already known to London audiences for his visually striking takes on classics such as A View from the Bridge and Antigone.
Lazarus emerged suddenly in late 2015, part of the burst of creativity at the end of David Bowie’s life that also included his album Blackstar – songs from that album appear alongside the likes of Changes, Heroes and This Is Not America.
Critics praised the production, though they were also a little perplexed. “What they have created makes perilously little sense,” wrote the Guardian’s Alexis Soloski, but “it’s nearly impossible not to be persuaded and baffled and at least a little thrilled”. Ben Brantley of the New York Times wrote: “Listening to the characters talk, your response is likely to be either an irritated “Oh, please,” or a dumbfounded ‘Huh?’”, but he added that the musical numbers were “ice-cold bolts of ecstasy [that] shoot like novas through the glamorous muddle and murk”.
• The London production opens on 25 October and runs until 21 January 2017, at the Kings Cross Theatre. Tickets are on sale now.