In what seems like the first of a few “movie to musical” adaptations coming to the West End (Frozen, Moulin Rouge and Mean Girls all awaiting transfers), The Prince of Egypt is a new musical that hasn’t already ran on Broadway (albeit a few other productions across the globe, this version boasts new set, costumes and song “Footprints on the Sand”). With music and lyrics by mastermind Stephen Schwartz (Godspell, Wicked) who wrote the songs for the 1998 film, the music alone is bound to be worth the trip.
The show tells the biblical story of Moses (Luke Brady) from his birth until he frees the Hebrew people from the Egyptians and his brother, Ramses (Liam Tamne).
As fans of the original film and Stephen Schwartz’ work, we expected great things. Our experience was mixed as we were stunned by the ensemble but felt the emotional impact of characters didn’t quite hit right at times – overall though, the show was very impressive. Read on to find out our five reasons to see The Prince of Egypt.
1. The ensemble’s choreography
As alluded to above, we were absolutely blown away by the ensemble. Opener “Deliver Us” was portrayed with stunning choreography reminiscent of “At the End of the Day” from Les Misérables as the cast reach out in desperation, we knew we were in for a treat and were not disappointed. The symbolic choreography (from Sean Cheeseman (West Side Story)) was exquisite; breathtaking acrobatics and the precise group movement was completely captivating. “Through Heaven’s Eyes” was another highlight, packed with energy and wonderful dancing. If you see this show for one reason alone, it’s got to be the choreography.
2. The voices
Not only can the cast move in stunning ways, but they can belt out a song too! Along with act 1 and 2 finales, two standout numbers are “Deliver Us” and “When You Believe” – the latter brought both of us to tears. The voices of the lead cast too are very good. The female leads of Christine Allado (Tzipporah) and Alexia Khadime (Miriam) shine in this show, mainly again with well-known song “When You Believe” before the whole cast join in and take the song to it’s epic conclusion.
3. It’s a great adaptation of the film
Too often can an adaptation miss out key pilot points or change a storyline for no good reason but that’s not the case here as small changes have been made that all add to the story. The ending isn’t exactly how the film depicts, which (without giving too much away) gives it more of an emotional impact. We also see more of Moses’ self-conflict being God’s messenger and inflicting such horror on his brother and the Egyptians. While these changes all add to the pathos, one standout moment that lacked emotion was the final plague on Ramses’ son. As we had seen no growth or bonding between son and father, this scene fell flat for us, redeemed only by Tanisha Spring’s powerful grief-stricken song “Heartless”.
4. The staging of the show
When a production comes from a company like Dreamworks, you can expect that a lot of money has been put into it. The set comes right out of the stage in the unique string curtain sheets that capture immersive projections and set scenes wonderfully. The curtains and projection are used really well during the sea-parting scene too, creating an enchanting illusion. The ‘stage magic’ seemed a little unnecessary or lost at the back of the stage at times, but nevertheless this didn’t take from the other impressive moments like Moses’ altercation with the Egyptian guard who’s wires were barely visible, giving great effect to the stunt of him falling.
5. The score is divine
Inspired by Hans Zimmer who created the score to the film, the orchestral arrangements of this show are stunning too. In an age that we are seeing more new shows emerge with a score played by a band or songs written in a modern way, it’s a welcome change to hear beautifully written wood and string instruments delicately accompany the scenes on stage. You’ll lose count of the amount of times that orchestra gives you goosebumps.
Overall, The Prince of Egypt has got it’s imperfections here and there but the positives outweigh these and a great show is left gracing the West End. It has been announced that the show is now extended at the Dominion Theatre until October 21st, get your tickets by clicking here.