The Prince of Egypt arrives at London’s Dominion Theatre in style.
With an epic story of (literally) biblical proportions and some of the most beloved songs in animation history, it’s not surprising that DreamWorks decided to adapt their 1998 hit movie The Prince of Egypt for the stage – although it is a surprise that it took this long to happen. Based on the Book of Exodus, the show follows royal siblings Moses (Luke Brady) and Ramses (Liam Tamne) throughout their lives, as the former leaves his privileged life behind to fulfil his destiny of freeing his true people, while his brother embraces his role as new Pharaoh of Egypt.
Adapting it for the stage is no small task, and it takes an impressive cast of 43 – that’s not including the orchestra – to make up the big-budget spectacle. There’s engaging performances all round, while Sean Cheesman’s jaw-dropping choreography puts the dancers through their paces, using their bodies as chariots in a race through the marketplace, a river to carry baby Moses in his crib, and the sands of the desert racing around the stage.
As well as five acclaimed songs from the original animated movie, including standout Deliver Us which makes for a particularly impactful opening number, Academy Award-winner Stephen Schwartz returns with 10 brand new songs. They’re not particularly memorable, unfortunately, but it’s easy to forgive that once the familiar sound of When You Believe – the movie’s signature song and a worldwide hit for Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey – begins. The cast’s incredible vocal talent carries it off with ease.
Of course, the most anticipated scene is Moses’ parting of the Red Sea in the show’s penultimate scene, and it doesn’t disappoint. Projections, props, dancers and a tilting stage are all combined to provide the audience with a sense of the action, and it’s hard not to feel the emotion of the moment as the newly-freed Israelites make their way through the centre of the audience.
The Prince of Egypt is one of the most visually-engaging and imaginative shows we’ve seen. It’s hard not to get swept up in the magic.
GAY TIMES gives The Prince of Egypt – 4/5
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Author: Daniel Megarry