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Exodus


 

Exodus

A JOURNEY OF FAITH

reviewed by Arthur Kok

Music by Kenneth Lyen and Chua Yao Zhang
Words by Stella Kon
Directed by Karen Lim
Music directed and arranged by Bang Wenfu
Choreographed by Richard Chia
Date: 13 Mar 2003
Venue: Anglo-Chinese School, Barker Road, Singapore

I think I am Exodus-out. I have vague memories of that Charleston Heston epic 'The Ten Commandments'; I have seen 'Prince of Egypt' more times than I care to remember; I can still recall sequences from Ballet Magnificat's 'Deliver Us'; and I am in the process of walking a Bible-study group through the book of Exodus. When I decided to review Exodus: A Journey of Faith (a school musical, mind you) I wondered if I was in need of deliverance.

I went in with my expectations suitably adjusted. There was no way I would hold this musical to the same standards applicable for Broadway musicals (or any that pretends to be one). So the static set did not particularly annoy me. The few slightly mistimed lines and the teenage-awkwardness did not grate on me. Not even the scribes' cheesy misinterpretation of putting things on record could make my eyes roll. Quite the reverse, these were strangely charming, perhaps because both cast and crew were so earnest in making the musical work.

What the first half lacked in energy, it made up with hummable tunes in 'Lead Me, I'll Follow' and 'Lamb, Little Lamb'. The use of primary school children in 'Princes of Egypt' also upped the "aw-so-cute" factor, although they seemed energetic only when they had to act spiteful. Perhaps this is evidence of humanity's inherent evil?

The second half featured more high energy numbers like 'Pharaoh's Rap' and 'Four Pests'. 'Go Moses' was an upbeat company effort' referencing 'Grease' with much exuberance' and moving one to tap along. The finale 'To the Promised Land' was a rousing number that had the whole hall clapping along. Bravo to composers Kenneth Lyen and Chua Yao Zhang and music and choral arranger Bang Wenfu.

Commissioned as a musical to mark the inauguration of the ACS Concert Hall, Exodus went beyond merely showcasing the spanking new premises to restating the ethos of the school. The familiar account of the Hebrews' deliverance from Egypt to serve the God of their fathers was undoubtedly chosen to reflect ACS's history under God. With this musical, ACS has charted a future that remains securely in divine providence.

Pharaoh's Rap: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_J3dS7CQ6Qc

[This review first appeared in The Flying Inkpot.]