Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat starring X-factor winner, Joe McElderry, is one musical you can’t afford to miss. Relive the nostalgia and join in the fun of this brilliant family show
So, it’s a Tuesday evening and my mother and I are eating an early but very healthy dinner at the fabulous Rawr, one of the local cafes close by to the Regent Theatre. We’re chatting nostalgically about past theatre trips we’ve shared together and our mutual love of Joseph and his coat of many colours, and who should walk past? Only the star of the show, Joe McElderry… Wow, I thought – star-spotting and great food before we’d even taken our seats…we’re in for a good night, for sure.
To recap then…Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is a vibrant and exciting retelling of the biblical story about Joseph, his eleven brothers and the coat of many colours.
I first experienced the masterpiece that is ‘Joseph’ at school, it was our annual summer show, and my brother was playing the lead. He was quite the Joseph, everybody said so, and his vulnerable and shaky rendition of ‘Close Every Door’ had the hall in tears.
The next time I got to see it on stage was in Liverpool, I was a little older, not much, and Jason Donovan had the job of living up to my bother’s Joseph, which he did, wonderfully. A dramatic yet charismatic presence, and now I was hooked.
Fast forward 20 years – and while I haven’t seen any of the more recent adaptations, I’ve still kept my love of the musical going by singing my version of ‘Any Dream Will Do’ regularly to my children – and I’m sitting in my seat at the Regent to see it for a third time (yes, i’m counting the school performance) and I am so excited and so ready for it, more so than for any other musical I’ve had the joy of reviewing before.
As Josephs (in my experience) go, McElderry is brilliant, and he really did have a lot to live up to! His voice is remarkable – powerful, yet soft and vulnerable when it needed to be. He had fun on stage, in fact, he hardly stopped smiling, and seemed to switch seamlessly from the lost-soul of Act 1 to the more fun and powerful role of Joseph in Act 2. Alongside him was Trina Hill, playing the Narrator, she was also sensational. She had a cute voice, but it was by no means meek, and it worked well to help the audience connect the dots throughout the performance.
McElderry gave us perfect renditions of all the favourite hits, including Close Every Door and Any Dream Will Do. Other highlights were Go, Go, Go Joseph, One More Angel In Heaven, and Jacob and Sons. The Joseph Choir was provided by children from Stagecoach Chester & Wirral – again a wonderful element to the show, and helped to bring back even more memories for me!
Musically, the Rice-Webber formula is phenomenal, and Ben Kenwright has bought Joseph back to life with real vigour, it was funny, without being stupid – there were little pockets of genius comedy value, like a singing camel, the inflatable sheep, and the odd speech bubble; it sounds a little silly, but once you are caught up in the magic, it’s perfect.
Interestingly, Joseph was originally created as a school musical and, thankfully, Kenwright kept a childish flavour throughout – the brothers, for example, were a total mishmash of looks and personalities, but they connected very well on stage.
The choreography, led by Henry Metcalfe, was completely mad, as were the costumes – everything from Moulin Rouge inspired dresses, to gospel nuns, and Pharaoh dogs dressed as American footballers – and the set design was again a little insane, but for me, it all just added to real feel-good family entertainment.
I couldn’t finish without mentioning Elvis – the Pharaoh – definitely a highlight, and Joe McElderry’s Ugg boots… I’ll let you make up your mind on that one!
The musical will run at the Regent Theatre in Stoke-on-Trent from Tuesday 24 – Saturday 28 October. Tickets are on sale and are available from the Box Office, by calling 0844 871 7649 or visiting www.atgtickets.com/stoke