Everyone must have seen this musical once in their lives already, so I’m pretty sure I don’t need to detail the story too much. For those who haven’t seen it ever (why?), here is a nutshell description:
A biblical story of Joseph who is a handsome young man with abilities to interpret dreams. He is his father’s favourite, amongst 12 sons, his brothers are jealous and sell Joseph into slavery but tell their father he died saving them. Joseph ends up in jail, befriends everyone through interpreting their dreams and the Pharaoh appoints him to become his right hand man to help Egypt through feast and famine. Years later, the starving brothers come to Egypt asking for help, but they don’t recognise him. Joseph is angry at them and initially frightens them, but he helps them, reveals his identity and gives them what they want and reunites the family. All with a narrator helping to tell the story and a bunch of kids as the choir.
It’s a musical and the show prepares the audience with several minutes of a medley of music, some we recognise and some we don’t. It is introduced as ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat 2019’, the emphasis on 2019 is curious, the production company must have done some adapting.
The first two scenes/songs introduce us to the Narrator (Trina Hill), the kids choir (Broadland Youth Choir) and Joseph (Jaymi Hensley – from boyband Union J – no, I didn’t know either) with most of the cast on the stage too, although not interacting. Kicking off with two slow songs, I was feeling it was going to be a long night as nothing inspired me. Trina was singing a bit too high, although she was articulate, a good trait for the Narrator, I wasn’t engaged with her and Jaymi, he certainly passed the test of boyband to theatre with flying colours, however I wasn’t feeling it at this point. Oh, how misjudged I was!
From the third track onwards, it was brilliant, fun, colourful, enjoyable and everything in between.
The 2019 ‘version’ is superb. The production company made every other song themed. We had the brothers as cowboys singing country, we had the Pharaoh (Andrew Geater) as Elvis singing with American Footballers, there was 20s style campness – it was completely entertaining.
We had a touch of comedy, but they were not trying to funny just a bit of tongue in cheek at the right points and bringing some fun to the show. Jaymi was very engaging and his emotional performance of ‘Close Every Door To Me’ did bring a tear.
The brothers were excellent and their voices singing together was spine tingling. There were serious moments and emotional moments which were perfectly portrayed. The performances were excellent and due to the elements of the 2019 version, if the actors and singers were not high on the talent scale, it would have become a pantomime, but it was superb. The balance between light hearted fun while telling a biblical story was inspired.
All the classic Joseph songs performed with passion and energy, the audience were clapping and joining in. The set and costumes were bright, colourful and very clever.
There was a standing ovation at the end and they treated us to a few extra songs and a show medley where we all joined in. A fabulous evening’s entertainment.
Not the standard Joseph but we had drama, tension, singing, dancing, Elvis, cowboys, sheep, Parisian girls, camels – all what you’d want from this musical…..and a lot more – I would love for Andrew and Tim to see this version.
This review first appeared on GrapevineLIVE
The Regent Theatre