Pros: Wonderfully drawn characters inhabit an absorbing storyline mixing humour with quirky songs.
Cons: The combination of musical and cabaret feels largely untested and is sometimes difficult to follow.
The programme notes for Something Something Lazarus are suitably mysterious: a darkly comic musical about second chances, the healing power of performance, and finally letting go of the past …A different kind of beast: part realistic musical/part fantastical cabaret. Well, this is going to be no Oklahoma, with pleasant sing-a-long ditties with a frothy story line bubbling away in the background. No, this promises to be a much darker, abstract proposition. It is at times hard to follow as a coherent piece, but there is something engaging about the characters as they bounce off each other. We are quickly introduced to the four strong company: Valerie Cutko, as angular knife wielding Vee, Daisy Amphlett as pianist/musical director Della, Ralph Bogard as fragile bar manager Daniel, and Daniel Cech-Lucas as barman/cabaret host Jay. The show begins with Vee rehearsing the knife song with Della, Daniel stirs to life draped in a dressing gown, while Jay torments Daniel strolling around in his underpants. The delivery of an item unlocks the past and a host of bad memories for Daniel and so begins a frantic debate involving an axe and genuinely funny moments as it almost crosses into slapstick. Comedy gradually gives way to an extended eight second sequence bridging the gap between life and death. Jay becomes cabaret host as he contemplates death at the hands of his lover Daniel. Overall, the piece has its moments and benefits from a strong cast, who all distinguish themselves. Daisy Amphlett ably doubles up as musical director and plays a mean piano, accordion and ukulele; Ralph Bogard is memorable as the manically startled Daniel; Valerie Cutko was excellent as Vee; but perhaps the gold star should go to Daniel Cech-Lucas as nerdy barman Jay who transforms into cabaret host. However, I couldn’t escape the feeling I’d missed something a lot deeper in the plot. Maybe that was John Myatt’s intention. Nevertheless, a tweak here and there will turn it into a great show.
Book and Lyrics: John Myatt
Director: Dan Phillips
Producer: Broken Cabaret
Music and Transmedia: Simon Arrowsmith
Box Office: 0207 226 8561
Booking link: https://kingsheadtheatre.ticketsolve.com/shows
Booking until: 2 April 2016