Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber
Lyrics: Tim Rice
Director: Bill Kenwright
Reviewer: John Roberts
Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat has, over the past 60 years, undergone several transformations since being created as a primary school show by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice.
For many of those years, producer and director Bill Kenwright has toured his production almost continuously across the width and breadth of the UK. Introducing many young people to their first taste of not only seeing theatre for the first time but also the opportunity to perform in their first professional production and for St Helens that opportunity is given to the young choir from Liverpool based Performers Theatre School. The young performers bring a great energy and professionalism to the stage and are never without a smile on their face as they help fill out the shows backing vocals all the time being constantly on show from the off.
On press night billed headliner Jaymi Hensley, was “indisposed” which saw understudy Tom Bainbridge adorning the multicoloured coat. Bainbridge certainly looks the part, and has an excellent voice, however at times his portrayal felt a little flat and uneven, which sadly is a theme with the current UK Touring cast especially the ensemble of brothers, here we have a group where some brothers are so exaggerated in the performance that they almost make other members seem almost invisible. Despite this being Joseph the real stand out performance comes from Alexandra Doar who makes her professional debut as the Narrator – he vocals, performance quality and delivery are first class and really stands strong.
The 2019 UK Tour features new choreography from Thriller Live’s Gary Lloyd which sees a more modern jazz fusion try to blend in with Henry Metcalf’s original pieces – however, this should have been a total replacement, not just some numbers, the newer pieces really stand out and are strong however, they don’t sit comfortably with each other in the same piece.
As musicals go, Joseph isn’t the deepest or most hard-hitting show, instead, it could be categorised as bubblegum theatre. Instantly likeable with an overload of saccharine. But that isn’t a negative, sometimes all we need at an evening of the theatre is an enjoyable time and Joseph more than delivers in that area. It may not be as even as it once was, nothing a quick Iron wouldn’t fix, especially if they show does decide to continue its UK tour post-2019.
Runs until 23 Nov 2019 | Image: Pamela Raith