Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat Review

September 6, 2017 by Joanna Harrison

Way, way back many centuries ago…1991 to be exact…I saw Philip Schofield give us his ‘Joseph’ at The Palladium. So good, I went to watch him twice. I shall brush over the fact that I stood up in the Royal Circle and screamed ‘PHILIP!’, when he rose on this podium above the stalls. OK, so I was only 14 years old… don’t judge me.

I have a history with this show. I’ll admit it, I know every single word, including every one of the colours of the technicolour coat and each and every one of the brothers, in the right order (obviously!). I poured over the programme, bought the mug, had the t-shirt (literally). I thought that I was alone in my weird musical geekiness, but apparently not. Considering this show, written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, was first performed back in the 1960s, the audience was packed to the rafters. The lady behind us squealed to her friends that it was her favourite musical of all time and proceeded to sing, at the top of her voice, throughout the entire show. Respect.

Having not seen it in years, I was intrigued to see how it was shaping up after a few reincarnations from the Bill Kenwright crew. It’s the Biblical story of Joseph, his eleven brothers and the coat of many colours. The brothers, tired of their father’s obvious favouritism for Joseph, plot to get rid of him for good. Sold as slave and sent to Egypt, will he be able to prosper, as his dreams suggest?

The brilliance is in its simplicity. There is very little dialogue and the show’s story is entirely sung-through, with the wonderful narrator (Trina Hill) holding the story together. The staging is basic. There are inflating sheep, wooden camels and a Pharaoh (Ben James-Ellis) who holds more than a passing resemblance to Elvis. You probably can hum along to most of the songs including the signature tunes, Any Dream Will Do and Close Every Door. The show is full of energy and actually quite diverse in style with an unusual mixture of genres including calypso, jazz, country western, French cabaret, rock and roll and some toe tapping show tunes.

Joe McElderry oozed confidence as Joseph. A role often given to the latest TV favourite, McElderry vocal talents gave credence to the part. From X-Factor fame, to winning the likes of Popstar to Superstar and The Jump, he certainly had a few fans in the audience. I thought he was excellent and took Close Every Door to a beautiful new level.

A special mention for all the local children who made up the on-stage choir. They were all brilliant and so professional. Such a magical accompaniment to the show and especially loved their opening number at the start of Act 2.

The show is not to be taken too seriously. It’s charming, just a little bit camp and fabulously fun! A great one for the kids to enjoy too. I had a massive smile on my face throughout the whole show. Playing at The Cliff’s Pavilion until Saturday 9th September.