Something Something Lazarus

something-lazarus

Well where to start with my review for Something Something Lazarus…. a bizarre show of two halves. The first half is founded in realism, the cast of the show are also a cast rehearsing for an unnamed show. The group are made up of Della, the musician of the group, Vee the performer with a fondness for gin who thinks she is the star, Daniel the owner of the club and Jay, Daniel’s lover and bar man. This already dysfunctional group are turned on their head when a package arrives for Daniel. The second part of the show however is an abstract cabaret inside Daniel’s head, with Jay playing MC where time is crucial and every second counts.

The moment that Something Something Lazarus took the surreal turn inside Daniel’s head was when the show got a whole lot more interesting. Prior to that the book by John Myatt was struggling to develop at an interesting pace, the script felt forced and the characters lacked depth. The more surreal, cabaret based part of the show however had more interesting themes and saw some shimmer of potential that could be developed.

Something-Lazarus

Daisy Amphlett in Something, Something, Lazarus. Photo: Jamie Scott-Smith

One of the reasons for the potential of the surreal cabaret element is Daniel Cech-Lucas who played Jay who compared this part of the show. His interaction with the audience made me feel deliberately uncomfortable at the same time as drawing me in. He flirted his way around the audience with great ease. Also adding to the cabaret feel of this part of the show is Daisy Amphlett who played Della (as well as the shows genuine musical director). Not only does she have a strong belt voice but she plays numerous instruments including the piano/keyboard and accordion.

The music in Something Something Lazarus by Simon Arrowsmith lacks any distinctive melody or hook. I appreciate that this is not the type of show where the aim to have you humming to yourself all the way home however some structure to the songs would be nice. I would however commend some of the electronic music and even if not the strongest of songs it was an interesting concept to see this used in a musical.

Valerie Cutko as Vee

Valerie Cutko as Vee

With the abstract foundations of a show and a production company clearly setting out to do something different I would have liked to see a more imaginative design. I appreciate that within small space and a limited budget there are restrictions. Despite this the presence of illuminated numbers on the stage to represent the seconds during the latter part of the show demonstrated that simple ideas can be effective. Element such as this therefore needs to be explored further to give the show the punch it is looking for.

Something Something Lazarus states that it is immersed in the world of ‘transmedia storytelling’ with some of the characters having websites, social media pages and new songs online. Whilst this is a novel idea this show simply doesn’t have the punch or the character development needed to make the audience go away with a want to discover more about the characters.

This is a show with an interesting concept but unfortunately the concept is not executed brilliantly. I do commend Broken Cabaret for their efforts but unfortunately the show needs a lot more development in numerous areas before it is a show that breaks the boundaries it sets out to break.

 

To find out more abut Broken Cabaret click here. 

2 comments

  • Did we see the same show??? I thought the characters were incredibly rounded and full. I loved the Transmedia elements that gave a full two years worth of stories about them and told me more about the depth of decision. I found the book tight and sharp and I thought the music was melodic and complex – the Cathedral song was gorgeous and the song about Lazarus where the blonde girl plays all the instruments was amazing and catchy! I’m not sure you understood the concept of the musical form enough. As for your comments about the set – they play on top of the previous show / they don’t have a choice of their set. Did you even read the programme??? This article smacks of the typical lazy “reviewing” that we get from unprofessional reviewers. A shame – this company is trying somethings new and you just dismiss it out of hand. Your failing not theirs.

    • Hi,
      Thanks for taking the time to comment. Part of what I love about theatre so much – especially experimental theatre such as Something Something Lazarus is that it can divide opinions. I think that is certainty apparent with Something Something Lazarus. I have had a read of many other reviews of the show and whilst I note that there are numerous 4* reviews from the likes of GrumpyGayCritic, PubTheatres, BritishTheatre there are also numerous 2 star reviews includingTheUpcoming, TheReviewsHub and a scathing review from A Younger Theatre showing that this show is clearly a marmite show.

      In relation to the Transmedia content you will note that I haven’t criticized the content or the idea – I actually like the idea, my criticism was based on the fact that I doubt many of the audience members would have the drive following the show to investigate this element of the show.

      Regarding the set, I don’t actually specifically mention the set in my review as I do appreciate the restraints placed on the company, but rather the design generally. I wanted to see more use of the abstract such as the illuminated numbers and other such items that doesn’t rely upon the previous show.

      I hope this clarifies a few things.
      Sarah – MusicalTheatreMusings.

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