Tag Archives: Alexia Khadime

The Prince of Egypt

★★★★

Dominion Theatre

The Prince of Egypt

The Prince of Egypt

Dominion Theatre

Reviewed – 25th February 2020

★★★★

 

“With its creative and production heft, this will undoubtably be around a long time”

 

Born in ancient Egypt and delivered via an unconventional route, this new work from the creators of Wicked (Dreamwork Theatricals) arrives kicking and ululating in the mighty palace of London’s Dominion Theatre. Having first been an animated feature film, this is the story of Moses told with a lot less religion and a lot more bromance, tracking the relationship between young Ramses and his foundling sibling as they grow close, then apart, then further apart.

A thrillingly executed chariot race kicks off an evening of peerless creative arts, from choreography to video projections, from wardrobe to set design. Then, as Ramses (Liam Tamne) steps up to fill the Pharaonic boots of his father Seti (Joe Dixon), Moses heads the other way down the pecking order, by falling for an enslaved dancer, Tzipporah (Christine Allado). Exile ensues as he pursues her into the embrace of the desert-based Midianites, a blissful commune lead by the genial Jethro (Gary Wilmot) who teach him how to dance in 5/4 time. After meeting up with his previously lost family, in particular sister Miriam (Alexia Khadime), Moses realises his identity and takes up the cause of those Hebrew slaves still slogging themselves to death on Ramses’ pyramids.

Enslaved to an unwieldy source, the script by Philip LaZebnik suffers under the strain, with wars and plagues, exile and deliverance having to be explained through the eyes of two brothers in the few gaps between 25 musical numbers. With so much work to do in a small space of time, some lines edge beyond parody. “Moses!! I haven’t seen you in a long time” says Rameses as if spotting a mate in McDonald’s when Moses returns from exile to let his people go. “How did you let the people go?” complains High Priest Hotep (Adam Pearce) as if the multitude escaping was equivalent to losing your Oyster card. However, it does the job of keeping the action and effects speeding along, especially in the second half with plagues being visited with exhilarating brevity. Hotep is no sooner popping open his vestal top to reveal boils than meteors are descending on the backdrop. But this is all, as intended, creating a thundering, crowd-pleasing display, that bears little analysis (should we really applaud a plague?) but gives excellent opportunity for some impressive visuals. The design team in particular (Kevin Depinet’s set, Mike Billings’ lighting, Jon Driscoll’s projections and Chris Fisher’s illusions) create spectacular landscapes, pyramid interiors and Red Sea partings.

Great effort too has gone into Stephen Schwarz’ reworking of his own score. Best known for Wicked and Godspell, here his music and lyrics wrestle absorbingly with the constraints of Egyptian-sounding cadences (courtesy of Hollywood’s biblical blockbusters) and lilting Yiddish melodies, while blending in some old school rock opera and, inevitably, the saccharine sound of Disney Musicals. The cast is universally highly competent as you might expect, the dancers all limb-perfect in service of Sean Cheesman’s superb choreography. With the two leads perhaps lacking enough contrast, only Alexia Khadime truly soars vocally, but Christine Allado and Gary Wilmot join her in managing to project a third dimension to their originally two-dimensional characters. With its creative and production heft, this will undoubtably be around a long time, but doesn’t have the heart of a Lion King.

 

Reviewed by Dominic Gettins

Photography by Tristram Kenton

 

 

The Prince of Egypt

Dominion Theatre until September 12th

 

Previously reviewed at this venue:
Big The Musical | ★★½ | September 2019

 

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The Distance You Have Come – 4 Stars

Come

The Distance You Have Come

Cockpit Theatre

Reviewed – 18th October 2018

★★★★

“it was utterly impossible to not be moved by the all-consuming singing of Alexia Khadime”

 

Scott Alan’s new song cycle, The Distance You Have Come, at the Cockpit Theatre is an apologetically raw evening, of six actors, 26 songs and a lot of heartstrings pulled out. It was, at first, difficult to see what held the individual songs together (besides an obvious love of American musical theatre) but the powerful performances and commitment to unadulterated emotion got us there in the end.

The songs were stapled together by a, sometimes contrived, shared setting in a park and their theme of achievement of any type. Two men fell in love and became fathers. A young recovering alcoholic overcame the split with his partner. Two women left one another as one became a surrogate mother and the other stalked the park looking for men to sing songs with. The show was redemptive as characters moved from cynicism and despair to success and fulfilment, but ‘redemption’ was less the strong intellectual glue needed and more attractive wallpaper over the thematic gaps between songs.

The performances were almighty as individual efforts, leaving no meaningful gaze ungazed and no high note unhit. This young cast clearly has great futures ahead of them (and some already have great pasts behind them), with commitment, energy and vocal talent oozing out of each pore. Jodie Jacobs (Anna) stood out as a respite from the High School Musical style which is all pervasive in a musical theatre and it was utterly impossible to not be moved by the all-consuming singing of Alexia Khadime (Laura).

With these invincible performances, the show was occasionally let down by strange decisions and a few lazy choices, lyrically and on stage. Cliche was the name of the game as an ‘alcoholic’ sipped from a hip flask and was tormented by masked and hooded abstract figures. The set was a strange fusion of nature and bougie restaurant with a giant leaf on the floor, a tree above and bare filament light bulbs hanging from the rafters. Lyrically this show pushed the boundaries of where normal musical theatre cheese meets lazy cliche with lines like ‘A home is where the heart is meant to be and you’ll always have a home inside of me’ feeling empty and tired. It was a shame to see small issues not dealt with (it wasn’t the first night) with actors performing to empty corners and the speakers consistently buzzing over one particularly popular high note.

This all said, The Distance You Have Come is not a show to be dissected or understood, but a show which enjoyably surrounds you with enough emotion that you can’t help but go along with it. The themes were contrived and the technical aspects were loose, but the exposed and unapologetic emotion of the performance culminated in a predictably moving evening.

 

Reviewed by William Nash

Photography by Darren Bell

 


The Distance You Have Come

Cockpit Theatre until 28th October

 

Previously reviewed at this venue:
Cantata for Four Wings | | April 2018
Into the Woods | ★★★★ | May 2018
On Mother’s Day | ★★★½ | August 2018
Zeus on the Loose | ★★ | August 2018

 

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