Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat – Review – Leeds Grand Theatre

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat Review Leeds Grand Theatre

By Sandra Callard, July 2022

The evergreen musical, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat has been running for nigh on fifty years, and its popularity shows no sign of ebbing. This new production showing at the Grand Theatre in Leeds follows the same familiar routine as Joseph once more becomes the idol of the Egyptian Pharaoh, played with great fun and panache by the lauded 1991 Joseph, Jason Donovan.

The touring orchestra play the music to their usual perfection as it accompanies the singers, but even they could not hide the uneven and unnecessary loudness erupting from the songs on stage – where was the sweetness, the range, the delicacy? The lengthy singing of ‘Those Canaan Days’, usually a moving and quite beautiful song, was ruined by sheer volume, as if Iron Maiden had been given production duties. In fact, many of the songs were reprised throughout the show in a careless display of diminishing returns. Even good songs have their breaking point.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat Review Leeds Grand Theatre musical


Despite this, Jac Yarrow was a good Joseph. He is physically appealing, handsome and has a good solid voice, but I was sorry to see his fairly ordinary Coat of Many Colours appear early on in the show, and the big moment for the expected unveiling of the huge and fantastic Coat never actually did happen. On leaving the theatre I heard so many people asking each other what had happened to “the coat”. That this is an obvious and very great error – to deflate this famous, much anticipated finale to a whimper and disappoint theatregoers – hardly even needs saying.

The basic story was skimmed to nothing and anybody who was seeing it for the first time would find it difficult to see what the point of the story was. Why did they want to kill their brother? Why was Joseph in prison? Why were they not reconciled? All these and more were ignored and would have challenged a first timer to understand the plot, which is just as necessary to a musical as it is to Shakespeare.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat Review Leeds Grand Theatre 2022


The absolute star of the show was the Narrator, Linzi Hateley – a co-star of Jason Donovan’s from the 90’s Joseph. She is so multi-talented she looked like she could run the show single-handed and appeared on stage practically throughout the show. And the odd thing is that she looked just as fresh at the finale as she did at the opening. Very strange and very clever and I wish she could tell me how she does it. She can sing and execute comedy with the panache of an oldtimer, whilst looking like she can’t be old enough. She received the biggest cheer of the night and it is quite possible that she just saved the show.

Jason Donovan’s interpretation of Pharaoh was quaint and funny and he didn’t hold back on taking the mickey out of himself. His appearance belies his years very nicely and his singing at the end of the show also held up very well.

I have seen Joseph many times, with a variety of cast, talent and production, and have always enjoyed it – as indeed I did with this one, but in lesser doses. This Joseph is a mixed bag – and I feel sad to say it. But it will not stop me seeing another one if it comes round again – I just hope that Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat lives up to its billing.


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