Tag Archives: Big Egg theatre

REVIEW: Bummer and Lazarus at The Other Room by Gareth Ford-Elliott

 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

Bummer and Lazarus is an absurdist play by Yorkshire-based Big Egg Theatre. Loosely based on two real-life dogs of legend from 1860’s San Francisco, we follow Bummer and Lazarus as they try to find food and a way out of the room they are stuck in.

Whilst Lazarus has an existential crisis and is desperate to know the meaning of everything, Bummer is much more grounded and focused on the goal of escape. Lazarus asks an infinite amount of questions before truly testing Bummer’s patience, driving the conflict throughout.

The writing from Jack Harrison varies a lot. There’s a lot of subtlety to the writing which is brilliant and the rhythm at times is great. But the mood and tone rarely shift which makes the production a little stale.

Bummer explains the existence of time, inanimate objects and indeed existing itself to the curious Lazarus. However, this is all stuff the audiences knows and the novelty of Lazarus’ innocent thirst for knowledge wears off quickly.

These conversations fill the time but don’t hold the attention. There is some wit and humour, but really not enough to carry the play. The subtlety of the relationship changes are good, but ultimately the play doesn’t fulfil its potential.

The performances also vary. The physicality between the two is generally good. Bummer the old, wise, beaten dog and Lazarus an excitable puppy. But where the physicality works, the emotion behind the characters feels bland and underdeveloped. Perhaps an issue with the writing but the performances from Jack Harrison and Alec Walker don’t do enough.

Some people will love this show. If you can get over the issues, there are certainly things to enjoy in this production. If you’re a fan of absurdist theatre, then definitely go and see this. The potential is certainly there, it’s just not quite hitting every note.

Bummer and Lazarus is an absurd comedy about two dogs working through an existential crisis that doesn’t quite realise its potential.

Bummer and Lazarus is part of The Other Room’s ‘Spring Fringe’ curated spring season. One of eight shows coming to Cardiff’s only pub theatre over eight weeks. Tickets can be found for this and other upcoming Spring Fringe shows HERE, with an ever-growing discount for the more shows you book.

Bummer and Lazarus performed at The Other Room
05 – 08 March 2019
Presented by Big Egg Theatre Company
Written and Directed by Jack Harrison
Produced by Lydia Harrison
Performed by:
Lazarus – Jack Harrison
Bummer – Alec Walker
Assistant Director – Dave Reeson

Review: Bummer and Lazarus, AJ’s Coffe House by Luke Seidel-Haas

Bummer and Lazarus by Big Egg Theatre



For those not in the know, or without access to Google, Bummer and Lazarus seems like a strange title for a play. Named after two stray dogs who during the 1860’s roamed the streets of San Francisco, the pair were prodigious rat-catchers and the stuff of local legend. Here, Big Egg Theatre company imagine what it would be like if these animals were completely anthropomorphised and stuck in a cellar and desperate to get out. The show also comically poses existential questions about existence and the notions of time, thought and matter itself.

Bounding into the intimate space of AJ’s Coffee House are actors Jack Harrison and Dave Reeson as the titular dogs. Bummer appears old and curmudgeonly, yet acts with near infinite patience with the hyperactive but intellectually challenged Lazarus. The dogs have a problem – they somehow have found themselves trapped in a cellar with no food, and Bummer needs to hunt and eat before they both starve. Beyond this simple premise lies 45 minutes of intense cerebral discussion between the two, who fire off lines as quickly as machine gun fire. The show is exhausting yet exhilarating in equal measure.

The physicality of both actors is excellent, with Lazarus bounding around the stage manically and knocking off things like an excitable puppy who is keen to explore. Bummer on the other hand is much more measured, limping around the stage (likely due to an old battle scar) and calming Lazarus down. Their conversation lurches hilariously between the mundane and the profound, often within the space of a few lines. Lazarus is keen to understand everything and asks Bummer questions in quick fire which he is able to answer with varying degrees of success. A rapid explanation of particle physics is a mind boggling highlight of wit and delivery. The writing is clever, keen to remind us that they are dogs and not to allow them to move on or really gain any new understanding of life.

As a production, Bummer and Lazarus seems to take inspiration from Samuel Beckett’s work – Waiting for Godot in particular. It’s existential themes and cyclical nature feel similar in nature to Vladamir and Estragon’s infamous wait. It certainly feels like it is not the first time Bummer and Lazarus have found themselves in such a situation, and likely not the last. Occasionally the shows feels like it is stuck progressing at the same break-neck speed, leaving little space for changes in tone or mood. Yet the delivery of the lines at such a pace is flawless and leaves you racing to keep up with the thoughts of the canine duo. Humorous and full of wit, Bummer and Lazarus is an engaging examination of existentialism; through the eyes of a dog.


Bummer and Lazarus


AJ’s Coffee House

5th June 2018

Written by Jack Harrison

Performed by Dave Reeson and Jack Harrison

Produced by Big Egg Theatre

Part of the Cardiff Fringe Theatre Festival – more information and tickets here.

Check out Big Egg’s website for more info about upcoming shows.

Image may contain: 1 person, sitting, sunglasses and indoor

Luke Seidel-Haas