Tuesday, 25 April 2017

“Joseph & The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat”
Nottingham Theatre Royal
The classic Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd-Webber musical returns to the Nottingham Theatre Royal, this time with “X Factor” winner Joe McElderry donning the loincloth in this biblical belter.
It’s one of those musicals that is adored by all ages and is often performed by schools as well as local theatre companies alike and of course with the massive backing of the legendary Bill Kenright behind the show, you’d expect a big, colourful, West End affair.
Joe McElderry revisits the role that he took up in early 2016 but he has many brilliant Josephs’ footsteps to follow in, so how did he do? Did he match up to the Donny Osmonds, the Phillip Schofields (who I’m sure will pop in on Thursday as he is only next door at the Nottingham Royal Concert Hall), Lee Meads, Keith Jacks, Craig Chalmers etc etc?
I don't think Joe has anything to worry about because he managed to match up to his past Josephs, bringing a boyishness to the role, He proved that he can sing with power as well as emotion. A lot of the emotion from the character was also displayed through Joe's face. He was confident and very watchable.
Lucy Kay plays the narrator and another export from the TV reality spectrum of “Britain’s Got Talent”. Hailing from Leicester, we can claim her as a local. Her operatic training worked well here and she also showed off a reasonable rocky tint to her voice as well.
Benjamin James-Ellis who plays Pharoah was also a TV Semi-Finalist in “Any Dream Will Do”, the TV talent show that looked for a “Joseph” to go on tour a few years ago. A solid performance from Ben with a great sense of fun as the faux Elvis.
A strong ensemble in every sense of the word, they created a lovely harmonic, almost choir-like sound in parts. This also went for the large childrens ensemble from the AGF Performing Arts. Combined they produced a very pleasant wall of sound.
I would have loved to have seen the live orchestra but they were well hidden. Not even the musical director appeared at the end when Joe told us it was the Richard Morris Orchestra, who also has a local connection as being a graduate of the University of Nottingham.
Colourful set and some nice choreography (Henry Metcalfe), the cast threw themselves fully into the dancing and singing the brilliant songs of Lloyd-Webber/Rice.
"Close Every Door", "Any Dream Will Do", "One More Angel In Heaven", Pharoah's Dream", "Go Go Joseph" and the wonderful "Those Canaan Days" all revisited in the megamix at the end.
A fun and pacy musical with a nice fluffy happy ending and with Joe's smile evident all the way through, you can see that he, and the cast, looked as if they were loving every minute on stage.
This production brings nothing new to the musical but it certainly doesn't detract anything from past productions I've seen, so it keeps the "Joseph" flag flying high.
“Joseph & The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat” is at the Nottingham Theatre Royal until Saturday 29 April 2017.

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