Dominion theatre

Hard to believe this rambling apprentice-piece ever made it to the stage: Almeida’s The House of Shades reviewed

The House of Shades is a state-of-the nation play that covers the past six decades of grinding poverty in Nottingham. The action opens in 1965 with a corpse being sponged down by an amusingly saucy mortician. The dead man, Alistair, sits up and walks into the kitchen where he natters with his prickly, loud-mouthed wife, Constance (Anne-Marie Duff). They seem to live in the city’s most dangerous dwelling. People keep dying. Then they come back to life to make a speech or two. Constance’s pregnant daughter doesn’t survive a back-room abortion and she shows up half a dozen times in a skirt dripping with blood. Alistair expires again and returns

Unimpressive: The Prince of Egypt reviewed

The Prince of Egypt is a musical adapted from a 1998 Dreamworks cartoon based on the Book of Exodus. So the original writer is God. The show opens with a troupe of fit young athletes working on Pharaoh’s latest tomb. And they look like the best-fed slaves in history. A meat-rich diet and round-the-clock access to a gym and a sauna must have been written into their contracts. The tanned abs of the male slaves ripple and gleam. The lithe females are bendier than hosepipes. Presumably these cartwheeling ballerinas are able to limber up in an air-conditioned dance studio before each shift. The only drawback is lugging blocks of stone