Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat – Review – Bradford Alhambra

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By Carol Plant, February 2020

The Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber mega musical hit Bradford Alhambra on Tuesday evening – and as I waited patiently in line behind a classroom full of giddy schoolchildren and their surprisingly perky teacher, I could see young and old all with a sense of expectation..

This production starred Mark McMullan as Joseph, a recent finalist on Britain’s Got Talent. The rest of the cast consisted of recently graduated musical theatre performers and one seasoned pro, playing Jacob. The perennial musical is enough of an audience magnet itself, it would seem.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat might have been around for decades, but it is not known to me. I managed to escape it at school, unlike my plus one, who was coerced, at the tender age of 8-years-old, to play a background role in the musical. She found that the song lyrics came flooding back to her – and appeared somewhat disappointed that they had. The stage is not for everybody.

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“Enjoy the costumes”

Apparently loosely based on the Biblical story of Joseph, I’m afraid my Bible knowledge is limited to Hollywood films. All I now know is that Joseph has a hell of a time and some unpleasant things happen to him – but this is a family show through and through.

Joseph’s superpower is his ability to decipher people’s dreams and this results in him saving lives – although it’s this self same power that turns his brothers against him in the first place which ultimately leads him to being captured as a slave.

I did wonder how closely the younger children were able to follow the plot, but hoped they were simply there to enjoy the costumes, the singing and the dancing.

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“Plenty going on”

The production from a technical and performance perspective was good. The cast were full of energy and put in fantastic performances. The singing was good despite the narrator’s singing voice sounding a little screechy in places. The screen changes were flawless and the set truly was spectacular. There was plenty going on to keep young and old audience members entertained.

I’m a lover of theatre, but no musical aficionado and while I can’t pretend I was awed by the songs, there is no denying that the Joseph fans adored this production. They sang and clapped along, gave a standing ovation and left with smiles on their faces.

And maybe that is this cornerstone of British musical theatre’s simple secret.

images: Pamela Raith Photography


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