Tag Archives: Alexia Khadime

“The Prince of Egypt” at the Dominion Theatre

There’s plenty of theatre aimed at younger audiences that everyone can enjoy. This musical about Moses is not one of them. It’s a right royal disaster.

The show succeeds in its painfully clear aim of being big and bold. And, while running with the alliteration would be fun, it isn’t boring – Scott Schwartz’s swift direction prevents that. Actually, it’s just bad.

Problems come from a dependence on the show’s origin as an animated film. Projections, from Jon Driscoll, are impressive but overused and only reinforce how everything about The Prince of Egypt is two-dimensional.

Luke Brady is instructed to give us a modern Moses and he delivers. But the character is flat and his development paper thin. The focus on his adoptive family, the Egyptian Pharaohs, isn’t a bad move. But, accompanied by a pantomime High Priest and some confusing costumes (Ann Hould-Ward), what should be a major role for Liam Tamne, as Ramses, is simply a sketch.

Luke Brady and Christine Allado in The Prince Of Egypt
Luke Brady and Christine Allado

It’s good that women are brought to the forefront of the story. But Moses’ sister Miriam and his wife Tzipporah are further missed opportunities – another shame as Christine Allado and Alexia Khadime are exciting performers. The former just acts delighted every time she bumps into her brother and starts singing about deliverance without any preamble. Mrs Moses bangs on about freedom in a cartoonish costume.

Composer Stephen Schwartz has an impressive back catalogue and is the show’s big selling point, but his work here is lacklustre. These are songs you forget before they’ve even finished. And the score is horribly repetitive: anthems and ballads merge, dripping with sentiment and cliché. Every number has an unfailingly loud end. It’s enough to make you wonder if the Jews went into desert for a bit of peace and quiet.

The only thing worse than the lyrics, which ram home predictable rhymes relentlessly, is when people speak. The dialogue by Philip LaZebnik is awful. Take: “If you don’t choose your own path, you’re lost wherever you go.” Who knew self-help books were popular in Ancient Egypt?

The Prince Of Egypt, credit Tristram Kenton ©DWA LLC
The burning bush appears to Moses

Possibly to distract from all this, The Prince of Egypt is very much a dance show. Burning bushes and bloody rivers keep a crack squad of athletes impressively busy. But choreographer Sean Cheesman isn’t the miracle this show badly needs. Right from the start, with a bunch of very healthy-looking Hebrew slaves, the execution is excellent. But each trick is repeated too often. I guess there’s only so many ways you can move around fake stones artistically, but I’m pretty sure I’ve now seen them all.

The few attempts to inject humour are dire. And the tone overall is portentous and grates quickly. Having a Moses for a modern age fails. That the prophet has a crisis of faith and is confused about his identity is interesting. But the show hasn’t the depth to explore either. Moses even refers to God’s “magic” at one point. Bizarrely, religion is pushed to the side. The oft repeated hit number for the show, ‘(There can be miracles) when you believe’ – those self-help books again – becomes a nonsense. It’s never really clear what Moses, of all people, believes in.

Until 31 October 2020


Photos by Tristram Kenton and Matt Crockett

“The Distance You Have Come” at the Cockpit Theatre

There are six big reasons to see this show, namely, every member of the cast. It’s a song cycle, from composer Scott Alan, with numbers vaguely related to relationships: their beginning and endings, and the fears, ambitions and dreams they provoke, including parenthood. And it’s important to remember the nature of the piece – as a showcase for Alan’s work – which is performed with upmost professionalism by an impressive collection of West End regulars.

Alan also directs and makes an effort to interweave the numbers, which works better musically than theatrically. There are recurring characters, but this is sometimes confusing and, in one instance (a number called Quicksand), downright jarring. But there’s no pretence at an over-arching story – the music is the focus and it’s strong. It’s no surprise Alan is so successful or boasts so many collaborators. His compositions have instant appeal and his carefully constructed melodies are delightfully lyrical. The lyrics themselves, though, are poor, crammed with repetition and cliché. Generally downbeat, the work is heavy on emotion and very light on humour. The sincerity might grate – it’s a question of taste –and there’s a general air of entitlement in the songs, Nothing More is a good case in point, a sweet duet where “All I want” turns out to be quite a long list!

Andy Cox and Adrian Hansel

The performers make the evening by squeezing the most out of the songs. Emma Hatton get the show off to a great start with a song about a performer’s ambitions – it’s a mock audition that makes you certain she would get any job. Andy Coxon and Adrian Hansel impress with their acting skills, as well as their voices, as they perform as a couple in a number of songs. Some of these are sickly sweet, so credit to both for grounding the pieces a little. Jodie Jacobs also adds value to her numbers; in truth she has more personality than the songs she’s singing, and she sounds great. Likewise, the strong voices of Dean John-Wilson and Alexia Khadime propel the songs. They both have beautiful voices, manage to make most of the earnestness convincing and, with a mix of sweetness and sheer power, are a privilege to hear. Accompanied by just piano and violin, The Distance You Have Comeprovides a chance to hear all six top-notch talents in an intimate setting that is well worth travelling for.

Until 28 October 2018


Photos by Darren Bell

“Ordinary Days” at the Trafalgar Studios

Having had its London premiere at the Finborough Theatre back in 2008 we owe director Adam Lenson enormous thanks for staging another production of Ordinary Days. Adam Gwon’s musical is as far from the quotidian as it is possible to be. It’s a must-see.

Gwon’s story of four young people on one day in New York is a song cycle of love to the city. New York’s stresses and excitement, its random possibilities, are common enough urban tropes but Gwon presents them with unusual, appealing modesty as well as intelligence and great tunes.

Lenson has a similarly light touch, focusing on the intimacy of the piece and getting the best from his cast of familiar musical theatre performers. It would be a privilege to see these guys on any stage, but in a venue as intimate as the Trafalgar Studios it’s an unmissable opportunity.

Daniel Boys is perfectly cast as the lovelorn James. The chemistry he has with co-star Julie Atherton, who plays the recondite Claire, is palpable and both are in fine voice.
Deb and Warren
Lee William-Davis shows off his fine acting skills playing Warren, a sensitive soul lost in the city. Yet the revelation of the night is Alexia Khadime, who gives a tremendous performance as Deb, a frenzied graduate student who loses her notes and finds something more important. Khadime’s voice is as stunning as her comic ability.

Comparisons with writer/composer Jason Robert Brown are somewhat inevitable for Gwon. There are similarities and that is no bad thing. Ordinary Days is fresh, contemporary and brave. But Gwon’s musical has a more immediate lyricism and his writing a sentimental touch Robert Brown might shy away from.

Underlying Ordinary Days are questions that resonate with a modern urban audience, and ruminations on art and life that are delivered with emotional truth. Beauty is never far away in the city, or in Gwon’s wonderful score. With Lenson on board, Ordinary Days is 80 minutes of near perfection, so good you’ll want to see it again as soon as it’s finished.

Until 5 March 2011