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5-star Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat – Review

Joe McElderry in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
Joe McElderry in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (c) Mark Yeoman.

It is true that some musicals are a bit like the Duracell bunny in that they go on and on and on being produced and presented to a grateful audience. A case in point is Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s biblical based musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat which, despite being nearly 50 years old, is still regularly performed by both amateur and professional companies. I popped in to see the show last night as it started its week long run at the Churchill Theatre Bromley as part of the 2016 UK tour.

The story of Joseph is quite well known and there are two ways to get into it. You could pick up a bible and turn to the Book of Genesis and have a read or alternatively, you can listen to the words of the Narrator (Lucy Kay) as she introduces the Father of Israel, Jacob (Henry Metcalfe) and his twelve sons including his favourite, Joseph (Joe McElderry). Now, everyone knows that a parent should not have a favourite child and Jacob’s preferment of Joseph – even giving him the wonderful coat in the title – causes the other brothers to take some drastic action, which leads to Joseph ending up in Egypt as the slave to Potiphar and his vampish wife (Tilly Ford), spending time in prison with a butler (Lewis Asquith) and baker (Boris Alexander) and ultimately a meeting with the Pharaoh (Emilianos Stamatakis) that will change everyone’s life forever.

Lucy Kay
Lucy Kay

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is a strange musical in some ways. Whenever the show is produced, everyone concentrates on the star name playing Joseph – I first saw it with Jason Donovan in the lead role. But, there is someone that is often overlooked. They are the first person we see and the first voice we hear and they are, in reality, absolutely pivotal to the success of the performance and that is the Narrator. If the opening goes wrong it is very difficult to save the show. I’m really pleased to say that Lucy Kay was superb in her role and from the moment she came on – after what felt like to me – a slightly overly long overture – and started with the opening number it was obvious that the show was in a safe pair of hands. And this is true of the entire cast. Joe McElderry – who has really grown splendidly since his X-Factor days – really shines as Joseph, playing him as a young innocent who despite everything that life throws at him, manages to stay optimistic and believe in himself and his dreams. As with all musicals, there is always one number that has to be perfect, no matter what everything else is like. In the case of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat for me that number is ‘Close Every Door’, and Joe really, really delivered a fantastic, emotional rendition that had me sniffing away, yet again.

Having seen Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in the West End and elsewhere over a long period – and owning the film version with Donny Osmond – I have to say this was my favourite production to date. Everything worked and worked superbly. The set by Sean Cavanagh, looked great and was beautifully laid out to make the most of Bill Kenwright’s Direction and Henry Metcalfe’s choreography and the cast looked as if not only were they enjoying themselves, they really wanted every member of the audience to enjoy the production as well. This is very true of Emilianos Stamatakis’s almost show-stealing performance as the Pharaoh. Ultimately, the show achieved its aim of entertaining the audience and just over two hours after it started the show ended and from where I was it looked as if every member of the audience was on their feet giving it the ovation it really deserved.

Sometimes, touring productions are a bit disappointing when compared to their West End original but, in the case of this production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat that is not true and we are getting a West End quality show which is hopefully coming to a theatre near you very soon. Having discussed the show with my companion as we were singing our way back home, we both agreed that while Joe was listed as the star, this awesome show was definitely worth the full five.

5 Star Rating

Review by Terry Eastham

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

X-Factor winner Joe McElderry dons the coveted coat!
Having enjoyed sensational reviews, Bill Kenwright’s “Amazing”, “Superb”, “Wonderful” and “Brilliant” production of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s sparkling family musical continues to enjoy huge success across the country with standing ovations at every performance.

Retelling the Biblical story of Joseph, his eleven brothers and the coat of many colours, this magical musical is full of unforgettable songs including Those Canaan Days, Any Dream Will Do and Close Every Door To Me.

Joe was just 18 when he won the sixth series of The X Factor in 2009 and immediately went straight to number one on the UK Singles Charts with his debut single The Climb. He has since gone on to have three top ten albums, as well as notching up two more reality TV show victories, winning ITV’s Pop Star to Opera Star and Channel 4’s The Jump.

JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT 2016 UK TOUR
1 – 5 March 2016
Bromley Churchill Theatre
Box Office: 08448 717 620

8 – 12 March 2016
New Theatre, Oxford
Box Office: 0844 871 3020

15 – 19 March 2016
Kings Lynn, Corn Exchange
Box Office: 01553 764864
kingslynncornexchange.co.uk

22 – 26 March 2016
Leeds, Grand Theatre
Box Office: 0844 848 2700
leedsgrandtheatre.com

29 March – 2 April 2016
Manchester Palace Theatre
Box Office: 0844 871 7660

5 – 9 April 2016
Rhyl Pavilion Theatre
Box Office: 01745 33 00 00
rhylpavilion.co.uk

12 – 16 April 2016
Grimsby Auditorium
Box Office: 0300 300 0035
grimsbyauditorium.org.uk

19 – 23 April 2016
Billingham Forum Theatre
Box Office: 01642 552663

26 – 30 April 2016
York, Grand Opera House
Box Office: 0844 871 3024

3 – 7 May 2016
Royal & Derngate, Northampton
Box Office: 01604 624811
royalandderngate.co.uk

10 – 14 May 2016
Glasgow, Kings Theatre
Box Office: 0844 871 7648

17 – 21 May 2016
Wolverhampton Grand Theatre
Box Office: 01902 429 212
grandtheatre.co.uk

24 – 28 May 2016
New Brighton Floral Pavilion
Box Office: 0151 666 0000

31 May – 4 June 2016
Sunderland, Empire Theatre
Box Office: 0844 871 3022

7 – 11 June 2016
Buxton Opera House
Box Office: 0845 127 2190
buxtonoperahouse.org.uk

21 – 25 June 2016
Weymouth Pavilion
Box Office: 01305 783 225
weymouthpavilion.com

28 June – 2 July 2016
Milton Keynes Theatre
Box Office: 0844 871 7652

5 – 9 July 2016
Southampton Mayflower Theatre
Box Office: 02380 711811
mayflower.org.uk

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