*We were provided with press tickets in return for this review*
I absolutely love musicals and have done all my life, so I am always keen to learn about any I may have missed. One such show is The Prince of Egypt, a musical which is currently showing in the West End in London. It is a show based on the DreamWorks animated film and includes the hit single ‘When You Believe’.
The Prince of Egypt Musical Overview
With music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and a book by Philip LaZebnik, THE PRINCE OF EGYPT is based on the celebrated DreamWorks Animation film and includes the Oscar-winning song When You Believe. The cast includes Luke Brady (Moses), Liam Tamne (Ramses), Christine Allado (Tzipporah), Alexia Khadime (Miriam), Joe Dixon (Seti), Debbie Kurup (Queen Tuya), Clive Rowe (Jethro), Adam Pearce (Hotep), Tanisha Spring (Nefertari), Silas Wyatt-Barke (Aaron) and Mercedesz Csampai (Yocheved).
In Ancient Egypt, two young men, raised together as brothers in a kingdom of privilege, find themselves suddenly divided by a secret past. One must rule as Pharaoh, the other must rise up and free his true people; both face a destiny that will change history forever.
The musical is directed by Scott Schwartz, with choreography by Sean Cheesman, set designs by Kevin Depinet and costume designs by Ann Hould-Ward. It is produced by DreamWorks Theatricals (a division of Universal Theatrical Group), Michael McCabe and Neil Laidlaw.
When I was offered the chance to see The Prince of Egypt, I was thrilled. However, the timings did not tie in for me, so, instead I offered to the other lover of musicals in my family. My sister, Cressida. She is also an actress so knows a thing or two about what to look for in a great performance. She was provided with 4 tickets in return for an honest opinion of the show.
Review from Cressida Cooper
The title of the show alone gave me touch of nostalgia and took me on a voyage back to the late 90s, which set me up for a ride through a story that reminded me of my childhood.
The magnitude of the stage and set was as beautiful as it was impressive and set the tone for the entire show. There was a rapturous start with the opening number ‘Deliver Us’, which got us off to a wonderful and powerful beginning. The stage craft and dancing, while very striking, did to some extent feel reminiscent of the staging of a school performance in its simplicity. Fortunately the singing and acting carried the story with the necessary vigour and enthusiasm needed for a show of this scale.
There was a smattering of songs through the first act that failed to be memorable and whilst the chase through the market was fun it didn’t really engage me with the lyrics and music. The bones of the story began to emerge as we were provided with the building blocks of the cherished relationship of two brothers, Moses and Ramses (Luke Brady and Liam Tamne). This was compounded by the pressure and expectations of their father, the Pharaoh Seti, (Joe Dixon) which weighed heavily upon their shoulders. In stark contrast we see the love and warmth provided by their mother, the Queen Tuya, (Debbie Kurup) making for a very interesting dynamic.
The high point of the first act for me, leapt into life with the wonderful Jethro, (Clive Rowe) who was fantastic and did an amazing performance of ‘Through Heavens Eyes’. This led us to a big bag of nostalgia when a beautifully sung ‘When you Believe’ performed by Alexia Khadime & Christine Allado (Miriam & Tzipporah) closed the first act.
By the second act the spectacle of the show really took hold. I found the production of the river of blood and various other pestilence and disease to be wonderfully done. The beautiful yet simple choreography of the babes in arms was very moving. The reprise of Deliver Us tied us to the first act and the story at large. Yocheved, who was performed by her understudy Soophia Foroughi, was exquisite and heartfelt. The relationship between the two feuding brothers however felt a little lacklustre at times. But by the time we reach the pinnacle of their
turbulent fraternity I felt their story redeemed.
The backdrop of the clever and inspired creation of the parting of the sea, mirrored the authenticity and heart we saw in the early scenes of the show and brought their relationship to a satisfying resolution. This swept us away into the thrilling finale with the entire company.
There were some very lovely performances but for me the two outstanding characters were definitely Clive Rowe & Alexia Khadime, playing Jethro & Miriam respectively. They shone in both the intimacy and joy that they breathed into their roles. I would have loved to have seen more of both of them throughout the show.