Ashling Findlay-Carroll reviews the latest tour of the musical theatre favourite.
I must have been one of the few adults in the UK who hadn’t seen Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. As such I went in last night with fresh eyes: I knew the music and the story and was familiar with the various previous celebrity Josephs, but I hadn’t experienced the show in its entirety and didn’t really know what to expect.
What I was met with was a strong vocal performance from the whole cast—hugely important for a show that is sung-through as Joseph is. Lucy Kay as the Narrator carried the piece, and on the whole her performance was on point. A talented singer, she showed range and control in equal measures.
I was quietly hopeful about X-Factor winner Joe McElderry, and his performance did not disappoint. He has obviously worked hard in the years since the reality show catapulted him to stardom and has transitioned into a musical theatre star worthy of leading a show with as much popularity as this one. His vocals were crisp and clear throughout, and his commanding stage presence, combined with his likeability, made for a dynamic performance.
The show itself is an interesting creation. With multiple changes of genre, I found myself not quite sure what was coming next. Whilst this didn’t offend me, in a show so short (the first act was over within 50 minutes) it did feel a little like a whistle stop tour of all of Lloyd Webber’s favourite music styles!
The addition of the junior cast as the ‘Joseph Choir’ was sweet, but I couldn’t help but feel a little sorry for them sitting on the stairs for the whole show to sing one or two numbers. I did find their discipline impressive but wondered if they really needed to be there the whole time.
The only thing I found a little disappointing was the choreography. Whilst very well executed it seemed dated and a little too simple to utilise the ensemble’s talents effectively.
Overall this show feels like a step into something familiar and friendly, it is well performed, the songs—which I’m still singing this morning—made me feel nostalgic for childhood choir performances and it’s over before you feel the need to fidget.
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream is at the Edinburgh Playhouse until March 18th before continuing its tour.