★★★ | Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s biblical musical continues its national tour with this colourful, energetic and enjoyable production of the enduring and well-loved family show.
This sing-though musical tells the story of Joseph and his eleven brothers. Joseph is favoured by his father and is given a Technicolor coat, which causes his brothers to become so jealous of his favourable treatment that they take him into the desert to kill him. However, seizing an unexpected opportunity to make some money, the brothers sell him into slavery instead and Joseph is taken to Egypt where his ability to interpret dreams is put to good use by the Pharaoh. The two hour show is jam packed full of songs that you can’t help but know the words to, including “Any Dream Will Do”, “One More Angel In Heaven”, “Close Every Door” and “Jacob and Sons”.
This quality production was much better than anticipated with the staging of the show being very well put together. There’s good use of the set and scenery with the stage constantly looking full, but never overcrowded. The universally talented cast all performed very well and sounded excellent together. The sound produced by the ensemble cast (especially the brothers) when singing together was superb and their varied voices fitted perfectly together. The casting for the show, in terms of vocal performances was spot on. In particular, Andrew Bateup (making his professional debut) stood out for his enthusiasm and vivacious performance and Rob Wilshaw provided a notable performance in the role of Joseph, handling the show’s best known numbers with aplomb.
Visually, the show was vibrant, colourful and full of an enthusiastic and energetic cast and effective choreography. As expected, the costumes, set and lighting were all awash with a variety of colours, and the whole thing came across as a fun and lively production which was professionally put together. The lighting in particular was incredibly well done. In terms of the production and performance of the show, there was very little to criticise.
The main issue with the show was despite the fact that the production was updated, modern and well put together, the songs themselves have not aged as well as some of Rice/Lloyd Webber’s other early productions (such as Evita). Whether this is a result of over familiarity or just the way in which musical theatre has evolved over the years, the play itself felt a little dated. That said, the show, thankfully, didn’t take itself too seriously, with a couple of knowing nods to the audience, which was a welcome addition.
Overall, if you are looking of an evening of pleasant and undemanding entertainment, then this is a show worth seeing. The show delivers on many levels, particularly in terms of production, but also in terms of nostalgia (most people of a certain age will remember doing this show as their school play), in terms of good family entertainment and in terms of enjoyable, if fairly cheesy, fun.
Joseph is currently playing at Sheffield Lyceum until Saturday 30th November 2013. For information and tickets, visit www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk or visit the show’s official website at www.josephthemusical.com
In between visits to the theatre, watching films, photography, walking, scuba diving and singing (badly); Paul writes for TheGayUK.