Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat – Review – York Grand Opera House
By Kirsty Reid, October 2019
Way, way back many centuries ago – well 23 years ago to be more precise – I was in a school production of ‘Joseph’ and I’ve been completely in love with it ever since. I remember belting out the witty lyrics in my room after school in preparation for the big night – much to the delight of my parents, I’m sure.
How is it then that I’ve never seen it brought to life on stage? Well, not until recently at least. Along with my mum, I headed down to York’s Grand Opera House for the opening night of this Biblical tale.
Based on the original Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice collaboration, Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat has been performed by amateurs and professionals at arenas and theatres across the globe.
With no dialogue, the show is told entirely through song with the help of a narrator. Following the story of Jacob’s favourite son, Joseph, and his 11 brothers, the hit musical sees Joseph sold into slavery and later a prisoner – cue the heart-tugging ‘Poor, Poor Joseph’.
Rising from his prison cell to become Pharoah’s right-hand man, Joseph is eventually reunited with his brothers. Confidently following in the footsteps of Jason Donovan, Phillip Schofield and Darren Day, Union J’s Jaymi Hensley dons the technicolor dreamcoat for his first-ever major musical.
Hensley’s vocals are jaw-dropping. Shifting from soulful and captivating (‘Close Every Door To Me’) to slightly more operatic. I’m not surprised, though – he is an X Factor finalist after all.
Making her professional debut as the narrator, Alexandra Doar effortlessly strings the entire story together. With a superb vocal range and a Mary Poppins-like charm, Doar seamlessly blended into the story as she narrated between songs.
Returning for his second year of this production, Andrew Geater was brilliant as Pharaoh. An Elvisesque character bringing The King to life. He had the whole audience wanting more, so much so that he did an encore mid-set.
The entire cast appeared to be enjoying their performances immensely, but none more so than the Brothers. Embracing the tongue-in-cheek lyrics as they brought bountiful energy to an already uplifting production.
The lighting and staging was as bold and vibrant as the performance. From the opening medley through to the clever jail cell effects, the creative team deserve special recognition. Sean Cavanagh’s bold designs and Nick Richings stunning lighting are vibrant and visually pleasing. For me they were the real stars of the show.
Sprinkled with innuendos that, as with pantomimes, would go unnoticed by little ones – including the youth choir who were brilliant, this show has it all.
With an Elvis-impersonating Pharaoh and inflatable sheep, director Bill Kenwright’s latest incarnation of the touring production is packed with all classics from’ Go, Go, Go Joseph’ and ‘Any Dream Will Do’ to ‘Jacob And Sons’.
Whether you’ve seen the show before or not, by the end you’ll be up on your feet dancing along – we certainly were!