We round up the reviews for Ben Okri’s Changing Destiny, now playing at the Young Vic Theatre until the 21st August.
WhatsOnStage: **** “as it unfolds and explains itself, it exerts a more and more powerful grip, infinitely helped by the communicative and attractive presence of the two actors.”
The Guardian: ** “The bigger problem is Okri’s script, which raises ideas around identity, exile, leadership and the liberating aspect of immigrant reinvention, as well as the spiritual homesickness of the “foreigner”. But at just 70 minutes long, the story lacks detail, the characters (Sinuhe, as well as smaller parts played by Zhangazha) feel too generic and sketchy to allow the actors to bring much distinction to their parts, and the themes under-explored.”
Evening Standard: ** “Kwei-Armah wanted to reopen by taking theatre back to its essence, a tale told round a campfire, but with contemporary relevance and big-name talent attached. The resulting show is agreeable and sporadically thought-provoking (it led me down a Google rabbit hole on homosexuality in ancient Egypt) but too light and skimpy. And for a theatre like the Young Vic, at a crunch time like this, that simply isn’t good enough.”
The Arts Desk: *** “While the meaning of Changing Destiny, with its confidence in black pride and its hugely mythical range, is never in doubt, your enjoyment of the piece is directly related to how much you value ancient mythology.”
The Stage: **** “Warm performances and a bold design breathe life into one of humankind’s earliest recorded stories.”
The Telegraph: **** “In this new adaptation by poet Ben Okri at the Young Vic, the ancient story of the warrior king Sinuhe is brought to intriguing new life.”
The Times: ** “This was a strange way to reopen the Young Vic. There’s no reason why an ancient Egyptian text shouldn’t speak to a modern audience, but this hour-long production by the artistic director Kwame Kwei-Armah fails to communicate much in the way of history, spirituality or sense of place.”
Northwestend.com:”Changing Destiny is an eye-catching rendition of a classic epic reimagined by Ben Okri. The Young Vic’s skilful integration of modern-day techniques and ancient storytelling methods makes this show a delightful watch.”
Theatre Fullstop: “Changing Destiny is fun, we capture onto the story’s sense of adventure, the show zoning in on themes of alienation and isolation and what it means to live a nomadic life. A tale about leaving a life of luxury to start all over again, it asks of the lead to evaluate what’s most important to them. Themes of mental health, love and spirituality explored also, Okri is able to capture the tale’s rich nature. A lovely welcome back to live theatre.”
Changing Destiny continues to play at the Young Vic Theatre until the 21st August.