Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber
Lyrics: Tim Rice
Director: Bill Kenwright
Choreographer: Henry Metcalfe
The scintillating and evergreen musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat comes to Bradford on its national tour and delights audiences with its exuberance and sheer vitality. This is a standout production that cannot fail to entertain and send the audience home happy singing all those wonderful tunes. There have been many productions of Joseph over the years but this has got to be up there with the best.
Based on the Bible story as told in Genesis the show depicts the jealousy of the eleven brothers of their father Jacob’s favoured son. The brothers plot to get rid of Joseph and sell him into slavery in Egypt where he rises from poverty and imprisonment to become Pharaoh’s right hand man thanks to his skill in interpreting dreams. At the end his family – now suffering the effects of famine and hard times – are reunited with Joseph and all is harmony and happiness. For those who wish to look for it, the story is really about forgiveness and redemption but such lofty themes are overpowered by the sheer joy of the melodies and the lyrics.
Making his professional debut in the leading role is Mark McMullan, known to millions as one of the recent finalists on television’s Britain’s Got Talent. McMullan has a very fine singing voice that he demonstrates to full effect, looks suitably athletic in the part and displays plenty of energy throughout. Key solos Close Every Door and Any Dream Will Do are well rendered and do not disappoint. Also making her professional debut as the Narrator is Alexandra Doar. This is a very important part in any production of Joseph and calls for an exceptional singing voice, abundant charm and lots of stamina throughout. Doar possesses all these qualities and right from her opening number oozes an assurance and confidence that can only bode well for the future. Mention must also be made, of course, of Henry Lawes as Pharaoh, strutting his stuff as Elvis in the second half. Lawes hams it up as to be expected and has a very impressive hip action! There is even an added solo (King of my Heart) that has a clever take on many of Elvis’s hits.
The success of Joseph not only depends on these three main leads being outstanding but on the overall performance of the rest of the company and this is where this production shines. There is really not a weak link anywhere, from the thankless dual role of Jacob/Potiphar to the very sexy handmaidens and the ensemble playing of the eleven brothers. This whole group delivers the two key numbers of One More Angel in Heaven and Benjamin Calypso exceptionally well and they display assured choreography throughout. The set and design are extremely colourful, vivid and eye-catching with a few special effects that add to the overall spectacle.
Runs until 8th February 2020