Thursday, 27 February 2020

REVIEW: The Prince of Egypt at the Dominion Theatre

The Prince of Egypt, based on the biblical story, was a hit film in 1998 grossing over $218 Million, making it the most successful non-Disney animation at the time and this new musical version comes into the West End after a handful of productions around the world. This is one of the most exciting productions to come to the West End in a long time; in a time where we see countless revivals, jukebox and 80’s film adaptations, this is a breath of fresh air into our industry. Even though its based on a film, this original concept goes far beyond what we’ve seen before. 

The shows main issue is the Book, similar to that of a pantomime it likes to explain everything we’re seeing rather than let the audience interpret the actions. At times, the book made the acting look pretty bad as its not natural nor does it benefit the story. The cast are incredible talented but all are let down by the stale book. 

Scott Schwartz, the son of writer Stephen Schwartz, directs the show and although the concepts, imagery and staging were interesting the show was based around the Choreography so you start to ask the question of where did the directors job actually start. Saying that, Sean Cheesman’s work on the show was stunning. A mix of contemporary, lyrical and traditional choreography that we’ve never seen on this scale on the West End stage. 

The design of the set has been done by Kevin Depinet; overall the look of the show is stunning, with help from Ann Hould-Wards costume design, but the set really was quite different. The bare and minimal concept really worked and even though the constant moving of blocks got a little tedious, it worked. A highlight is the parting of the sea, I shan’t ruin it for you but its proof you don’t have to do a lot for it to be effective. 

Luke Brady gives a very compassionate and solid performance as Moses. He has a gorgeous voice but his performance is driven by his actions which really gives him the edge as a leading man. 

As his brother Ramses, Liam Tamne also gives a solid performance. His chemistry with Brady on stage was lovely and his journey throughout the show really changed quite jarringly opposed to Brady who gave a more subtle slow burner kind of route. This creates the clashes between the characters which adds the drama in the relationship. 

Christine Allado as Tzipporah was stunning; she had a passion and fire in her belly which gave a feisty and independent portrayal of the character. Her vocals were also out of this world, she’s absolutely one to watch. 

As Miriam, Moses Sister, Alexia Khadime manages to rise above some of bad writing given to her and transforms it into a show stealing performance. The part is actually quite small, but her talent pours through and you’re drawn to her instantly. The tone of voice is stunning and her acting was by far one of the best in the show. 

Mentions must be given to Tanisha Spring (Nefertari) and Silas Wyatt-Barke (Aaron), their parts were very under written but Springs voice is beautiful and Wyatt-Barke’s portrayal is heart warming. 

Gary Wilmot makes an appearance in the show for one song. Something tells me this part could be cut as I forgot he was in it until the bows, but I realised it is because he appears in a big ensemble number. The ensemble are the main stars of this show. They drive everything, the talent of each and every single one of them was powerful, precise and magnetic. The show relies on them heavily and they are all up for the challenge and surpass it. A mention must be given to Sasha Woodward who must be one of the most stunning dancers I’ve ever seen on a West End stage. 

This show has its flaws but this is one of the most exciting things we’ve had in the West End in a very long time. It challenges your ideas of musical theatre and pushes boundaries of what we’ve seen before. Lead by the strongest ensemble around with an innovative and interesting design. 

Review by Mark Swale 

Rating: ★★★★ 

Seat: Stalls, J21 | Price of Ticket: £129.50

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