Dreamworks’ The Prince of Egypt has made its way to the Dominion Theatre, London, with the big numbers you remember from the film and the many challenges of putting things like the ten plagues and the parting of the sea on stage.
The two big numbers fans will remember, Deliver Us and When You Believe, are superbly done and won’t disappoint. They’re emotional, vocally impressive and have a big production feel. There are a few other really entertaining numbers dotted throughout the show, too. Sadly, these moments of brilliance are held together by an otherwise lacklustre production that just doesn’t grab the audience like it should. It’s all too inconsistent, jumping from brilliant to forgettable and back again.
The same can be said of the performances. Some are great and really engage with the audience. Most notably, Christine Allado’s Tzipporah is remarkable. She plays the ferocity and vulnerability of the role brilliantly and has the movement and vocal skills to back up a really solid acting performance. Mercedesz Csampai’s small but integral role as Moses’s mother Yocheved also carries with it great emotional weight. Luke Brady’s Moses really shines when the emotional toll of what is being asked of the character is explored (something we don’t really see in the film version and something that works really well here). Elsewhere, the cast have great moments but again just don’t have enough to keep it going throughout the show.
The use of the set is often done well, whether it’s the ground magically switching from sand to water or the parting of the sea, but other moments just don’t manage to achieve what they should. The plagues are largely disappointing and lack the real detail and horror of what happened (they also lack many of the plagues themselves). The use of people as props is also as inconsistent as the rest. Sometimes it works well but it usually just proves distracting and it’s a little too awkward and on-the-nose to have actors walking over and on these people, given that this is a story about slavery and persecution.
There are moments when it all comes together really well and you’re swept along with the emotion of the story. However, in all other moments you’re just never able to truly immerse yourself in the experience and forget that you’re watching a stage production.