Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat Review
A firm favourite with Musical lovers, Joseph and His Technicolour Dreamcoat is a classic of the West End. A joyous and upbeat take on the bible story from Genesis, it’s bright and catchy tunes alongside some outstanding staging makes for a fun evening of lighthearted entertainment.
Joseph and His Technicolour Dreamcoat is a two hour musical classic that initially started out as a 15-minute “pop cantata”. It was the first publicly performed collaboration between Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber – who later went on to write Jesus Christ Superstar – and is based on the Bible story from Genesis on Joseph and his “coat of many colours”. Throughout you can hear Rice and Webber’s use of a large range of influences – everything from Country and Western and Rock and Roll to Calypso.
As a fun-filled and family friendly musical it is often performed by amateur dramatic groups and schools across the globe, however nothing beats seeing it on the West End. Over time it has had many runs on both the West End and Broadway as well touring internationally. The musical is told predominantly through song with the help of a narrator, who sets the tone of the whole musical, this time played by double-Olivier-winning actor Sheridan Smith.The songs throughout are joyous, catchy and powerful and will have you dancing in your seat.
This version of the play hasn’t been messed with too much – perfect for Joseph purists – yet adding more excitement into the mix, the choreographer Joann M Hunter has expanded several of the numbers into dance breaks, including a tap-dance and a finale remix.
The story follows Jacob’s and his twelve sons. Jacob doesn’t make a secret of his favourite of these being Joseph, played by Jac Yarrow, a newcomer to the musical scene who delivers an outstanding performance. To show his admiration for his son, Jacob gives Joseph a multicoloured coat which Joseph is thrilled with and prompts the number ‘Joseph’s Coat’. His brothers, of course, are overwhelmed with jealousy and this alongside Joseph’s premonition in a dream that his destiny is to rule over them leads them to trying to kill him. Instead, after a change of heart they decide to sell him into slavery and he is bought by a wealthy man, Potiphar.
After a trip to the cells for refusing the advances of his master’s wife, Joseph discovers his ability to interpret dreams and this leads him to the Pharaoh (played by Joseph Donovan, who had his defining stage performance in the 1990s as Joseph himself). The Pharaoh has been having some unusual dreams that no one can decipher. Joseph is able to help and predicts their meaning to be that Egypt will see seven years of prosperous and fruitful crops followed by seven years of famine. The Pharaoh believes this and puts Joseph in charge of planning for this ultimately making him one of the most important men in Egypt.
If you prefer a grittier side to your musical then I would give Joseph a miss, despite the original story having dark undertones the musical is more of an upbeat and jolly affair. If you’re after a cheerful evening of fun with big, bold winning songs then you will leave happy.