Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber
Lyrics: Tim Rice
Director: Bill Kenwright
Reviewer: Marina Spark
The 2015 UK tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s much loved musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat has come to the south west and the Theatre Royal Plymouth is proudly hosting it. Director Bill Kenwright has brought together a host of bright-eyed young things (cast and local children alike) to tell the story of the favourite son and extradited brother, Joseph. Sold into slavery by his brothers, Joseph begins a journey that is humbling and empowering. He ends up being the dream interpreter for the Pharaoh and when famine hits Egypt his brothers come to him for help. Before they realise his identity, Joseph tests them to find out whether they are good men at last.
The stage and set by Sean Cavanagh is as flashy and multi-coloured as would be expected, with huge golden statues and moving staircases. It fits the musical very well and the cast move about the set with ease. The costumes are similarly gaudy and eye-catching; perfect for the show. A pleasure to be taken from Joseph is the unashamedly cheesy storytelling, and that is a major part of its draw for families. Many a gleeful child sits with a beaming smile on their face during this show.
Another large draw for audiences is a chance to see some of their favourite talent show contestants in action. This production includes X Factor stars Lloyd Daniels in the title rôle and Amelia Lily as the Narrator. Both performers clearly relish their rôles and take great pride in their respective casting. Daniels plays Joseph with a sweet naïveté which is ideal for the rôle. Lily plays the Narrator with increasing confidence as the show progresses and once settled into it gives an enjoyable performance. Unfortunately, because both are singers rather than musical theatre performers, there is a lot of air grabbing in place of actual emotion and the characters are at times somewhat two dimensional.
The chorus and minor characters are the real strength of the performance. A special mention must go to Marcus Ayton, the Baker, whose peppy, cheeky style is a joy to behold. Matt Lapinskas also does a fine job with the rôle of the Pharaoh; his Elvis impression is second to none. A highlight is the Potiphar scene, with Camilla Rowland giving some serious sass as Mrs Potiphar.
There are some volume issues, with the music being so loud as to make the lyrics very difficult to hear. Unfortunately, the audience members that don’t know the words do suffer for it.
All in all, this is a fun, family-friendly production that will certainly impress long-standing Joseph fans.
Runs until11th April 2015.