The Prince of Egypt
Director: Scott Schwartz
Starring: Luke Brady, Liam Tamne, Christine Allado, Alexia Khadime, Joe Dixon and Debbie Kurup
By Lauren Codling
MORE THAN two decades ago, DreamWorks hit gold when they released The Prince of Egypt, an animated take on the classic Bible story of Moses as he leads the Israelites out of Egypt. It grossed more than $218 million at the box office, making it the most successful non-Disney animated feature at the time.
Now, it has been adapted for the stage – probably in the hope that it will be as successful.
The story centralises on two brothers Moses and Rameses, who grew up as best friends but end up at odds as they battle against one another for the freedom of thousands of Hebrew slaves.
The fraternal relationship between the two leads feels natural – the actors have a spark and it shows.
The Oscar-winning song When You Believe, sang by Christine Allado and Alexia Khadime, is goose bump worthy – although it is hard to stack it against the Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston original. The rousing opening number Deliver Us, which is accompanied by stunning choreography as dancers imitate the Nile which takes the infant Moses downstream to his adopted family, is a promising start.
Throughout, the choreography is magnificent – impressive bodywork is used to convey a series of complicated scenes, including a chariot race and the parting of the Red Sea. They are impeccably played, and you cannot fault the efforts made to deliver as much energy as possible.
However, it is not without its faults.
The dialogue is, at times, unbearably cheesy – a conversation between Moses and his to-be wife Tzipporah as they compare their own growing attraction to that of a timorous ram attempting to gain the attention of a “courageous” sheep is next-level cringe.
There are a few stand-out songs featured in the original film, but the new tunes by Wicked’s Stephen Schwartz were utterly forgettable.
And despite the creative staging, at times, the glitz and glamour of Egypt felt as though the Biblical story was set in the Luxor Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. It was almost surprising that slot machines were absent from the hieroglyphic-adorned set.
The Prince of Egypt is enjoyable, a great dance show with plenty of visual delights – but it is plagued with dodgy dialogue and questionable song choices. Avid fans of the film will love it. For others, it may be a tad hit and miss.
We give The Prince of Egypt three out of five stars.