Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webberr
Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield, and touring
It's an old, old story told in a spectacular way, with lavish scenery, extraordinary dancing, speed and movement beyond description and quality voices and music carrying everything along at top speed. Tara Bethan, as the singing narrator carried the action forward at a wonderful pace, and a great voice to do it with, (she is aged 24 and described as having 17 years of experience) intervening between the roles to set everyone on to the next step, keeping the children up to scratch - a local choir from Stagecoach Chesterfield and Sheffield, performing excellently. Joseph (Craig Chapman) with a sweet voice, and good acting as the show-off brother who got his comeuppance - at first - managed the audience in a satisfying show-off when the time came, while his team of brothers, energetic in the extreme, sang and danced, entertained the hand-maidens, also great dancers. Jacob and the brothers, for some reason I did not quite understand, became Parisian, including an onion seller at the Tour Eifel, at a crucial point in the story.
The show-stealer, Pharoah (Antony Hansen) told his dream story to his microphone, (Joseph did not manage to catch all the words, not the only one) while his bodily movements were unlike either the fat cows or the sheaves of corn, but certainly had the ladies on their feet.
A most striking feature of the show was the wonderful sets - designer Sean Kavanagh - starting with a page of Egyptian hieroglyphics, the rural opening and the grand Egyptian Court all stunning in their presentation.
The story came to an end with a grand finale, a reprise of all the songs, which carried on and on and on, the audience standing up, joining in, clapping and waving and the brothers coming down into the auditorium singing their hearts out. It was a great night out, and my companion, who had seen versions seven times before said it was really the greatest.
V Mitchell reviewed this production in Newcastle
Reviewer: Philip Seager