>exodus: a journey of faith by anglo-chinese school (barker road) and rainbow theatre

>reviewed by arthur kok

>date: 13 mar 2003
>time: 8pm
>venue: acs concert hall
>rating: unrated

>tired already? go home then
>review junkie? whitney, give them this click to sniff

>look, we know that you need to know that we, as responsible reviewers, have some quantifiable categories to rate productions, and are not just relying on some undefinable instinct or gut feeling. So to put your mind at ease, we will give you a logical rating system based on the practitioner's vision / and the reviewer's response of a particular production. Here it is then: ***** : Transcendent / Rapturous. ****: Crystal / Appreciative. ***: Transmitted / Thoughtful. **:Vague / Unsatisfied. * : Uncommunicated / Mystified. Yet in the end, you will feel that this is (1) a cheap attempt to justify the subjective arbitrariness of our rating system (2) buttressed by an interest in the logical (and inevitable) categorisation of such productions, which is (3) undermined by the cheapness of the attempt, and (4) confused by the creeping feeling you are getting that we are dead serious in our feeling that this rating system is an accurate description of the content, intent and quality of the production. Oh please -- does it even matter now? Look, at least we tried.


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.

>>'EXODUS went beyond merely showcasing the spanking new premises to restating the ethos of the school.'

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.