Sibling rivalry has always made for a decent narrative tale: Cain and Abel, the Hound and the Mountain in the Game of Thrones saga, and of course the on-going feud between Noel and Liam Gallagher. Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat goes one step further including a colourful coat, human trafficking and the slaying of a goat!
Director Bill Kenwright brings his version of the theatre classic to the Palace for a 6 day run this week as part of an extensive UK tour. The story centres on Jacob and his twelve sons of whom Joseph is his undoubtedly his favourite. Jacob bestows a multi-coloured coat to his number one son which somewhat irks his eleven brothers who sell their sibling to be a slave and inform their father that Joseph has tragically died whilst wrestling a goat. So begins Joseph’s long journey back to his father, not before he discovers a talent for dream analysis and meetings with a Las Vegas style Pharaoh.
I must confess I hadn’t seen a production Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat until tonight however on this basis I can certainly see why it’s still a fan favourite after 45 years. It’s bright, it’s camper than an entire series of RuPaul’s Drag Race, and most of all its jolly good fun.
Star of the show Joe McElderry sparkles as Joseph, bringing warmth and charm to the role. He clearly loves being the face of this prestigious production and it’s clear to see he’s having as much fun on stage as the audience are having watching. His voice is smooth yet powerful, his performance cheeky and hugely likeable. Trina Hill more than holds her own as the Narrator and does a fine job, guiding us gently through the story. Both are supported by a hard working cast who are clearly having a ball and relishing their roles. A scene stealing turn by Ben James-Ellis as the Pharaoh is comedy gold. Special mention also must go to the children of Chester and Wirral Stagecoach who are excellent.
There are toe-tapping songs from the opening ensemble number of Jacob and Sons, the earworm that is Benjamin Calypso through to the big tunes of Close Every Door, and Any Dream Will Do. The costumes and set design are bold and vibrant, fully in keeping with theme of the show.
There were a few opening night nerves: faulty sheep, a dysfunctional stage curtain but these were minor quibbles. My main issue was with the sound, at times some of vocals weren’t quite loud of enough at the start of the song, small tweaks which I’m sure will be swiftly looked at.
Overall this fun feel-good show suitable for all the family and well worth a watch.
On at the Palace theatre until Saturday 21st October, for tickets head to www.atgtickets.com/shows/joseph-and-the-amazing-technicolor-dreamcoat/palace-theatre-manchester/