Something Something Lazarus at the King’s Head Theatre
John Myatt’s first foray into the realm of stage musicals wrestles with a darkly comic, potential-laden story; but confusing exposition and a lack of standout songs leaves audiences dying a slow death rather than resurrecting a love of fringe musical theatre.
Set in a rundown cabaret bar, Something Something Lazarus introduces us to a world of bohemian artists scraping by for the sake of their passion: Vee (Valerie Cutko), an aging diva, rehearses with Della (Daisy Amphlett), a younger but equally embittered actress as they prepare for their nightly performance. Meanwhile Daniel (Ralph Bogard), the venue’s broken-hearted proprietor, is using young barman Jay (Daniel Cech-Lucas) as a distraction from his lost love. Between them, they hold the failing venue together through a potent mixture of co-dependence, gin and an unerring commitment to their trade.
This uneasy and unsustainable venture quickly descends into a brutal exploration of each character’s true outlook on their situation when Daniel receives a gift from his “one and only love”. Between Jay’s metaphorical angel and a metaphorical ball and chain in Vee/Della, Daniel is quickly driven to a violent baring of his feelings.
Throughout this exploration (spanning a single 80-minute performance), the cast are given ample opportunity to showcase their musical talent, with Amphlett’s multi-instrumental ability and Cech-Lucas’ impressive vocals both shining. However, the numbers themselves lack any sort of punch, instead relying on tawdry innuendo to garner chuckles from the audience.
Similarly, although the story itself is a compelling if not entirely original mix of themes (love, co-dependence and an artists’ fear of falling into obscurity, to name a handful), Myatt fails to communicate these effectively. Instead, he relies on a whirlwind of exposition from one-dimensional characters that is jumbled and hard to pick apart, rather than a compelling portrayal of humans that are doing their best to get by,
Although there are some standout lines and moments here, such as an extended fourth-wall-breaking journey into Jay’s mind, Wyatt’s musical debut unfortunately comes across less as dark introspection (he based the story partly on a previous breakup) and more as a critically unpolished piece of fringe theatre.
Something Something Lazarus is on at the King’s Head Theatre from 8th March until 2nd April 2016, for further information or to book visit here.
Watch Broken Cabaret’s Kickstarter video for Something Something Lazarus here: