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Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at Milton Keynes Theatre

Published by: Alison Smith on 28th Jun 2016 | View all blogs by Alison Smith

Reviewed by Alison Smith

28th June 2016

Joseph poster atg

Joseph, with music by Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice, was first performed professionally in 1972 in Edinburgh by the Young Vic Theatre Company. After 46 years it is still a feel-good musical, the epitome of the narrative of good over evil. The musical, based on the story of ‘the coat of many colours’ from the Book of Genesis, features Joseph, complete with gaudy coat and the gift of interpreting dreams and telling the future. We follow the young man’s adventures – his brothers’ jealousy, his slavery, his life in Potiphar’s household, his imprisonment and eventually his rise to fame and fortune as the Pharaoh’s right-hand-man.
Joseph prevents starvation in Egypt and in so doing becomes the country’s most powerful man. When his brothers come in search of food it is Joseph who deals with them; this leads to his being reunited with his father. Thankfully we are led through the complications of the story by The Narrator (Lucy Kay). This role demands a constant presence on stage as well as great vocal talent. Lucy Kay fulfils this role admirably. Through song she tells the story while introducing a whole range of musical styles including pop, jazz, rock and roll, and Charleston. All add to the feel good factor especially with the lyrics of such catchy numbers as Go, Go, Go Joseph, One More Angel in Heaven and Any Dream Will Do. Especially bizarre were Those Canaan Days, complete with Breton T-shirts, an onion seller and the Eiffel Tower, and Benjamin Calypso with frou frou costumes and tango-like dancing. 
Heading the production is Joe McElderry as Joseph. Joe sings energetically and convincingly. He throws himself unreservedly into the part and the success of the show rests firmly on his shoulders. He is supported by Emilianos Stamatakis as Pharaoh (this Pharaoh has more than a touch of Elvis about him, complete with hip swivelling) as well as his eleven brothers (who also play other roles); they add zest and comedy to the musical with great confidence in all the singing styles. In fact under the direction of Bill Kenwright the whole cast shine, the dancing is choreographed dynamically and the production handled masterly with a brilliant set, clever lighting, wonderful costumes, remarkable musicians and unforgettable special effects. 
Mention must be made of the children from the Myra Tiffin Performing Arts School and Thornton College who act as the chorus. They are on stage throughout the performance and do not disappoint. 
This musical is wacky and off the wall. With its pantomime features – inflatable sheep, talking camels, a dismantled goat -  its unique assortment of musical genres and its talented cast, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat must give great enjoyment to a wide audience.
 
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor dreamcoat is at Milton Keynes Theatre until Saturday 2nd July.
 
www.atgtickets.com 0844 871 7652 Booking fee applies       

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