• Chris O'Rourke

Joseph And The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat


Linzi Hateley and company in Joseph And The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat: Image Tristram Kenton

*****

For Irish people of a certain age, Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's enduring classic from 1972, Joseph And The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat evokes painfully traumatic memories. A direct result of Joe Cuddy's chart topping version of Any Dream Will Do in 1974, which never seemed to be off the radio. Encouraging every school and parish across the country to capture choirs of children and compel them to learn it under pain of beheading. Then proceeding to parade their ineptly singing angels on every occasion to sing it in full voice. Around about the hundredth rendition most were dreaming of selling Joe Cuddy into slavery with the eponymous Joseph, along with his infuriating song. But fear no more. Today there's help at hand in the guise of Joseph And The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat currently running at Bord Gáis Energy Theatre. Which heals all wounds with a much needed injection of fun, spectacle and joy.


Unless you've lived under a rock, and probably even then, you're likely familiar with the biblical tale of Jacob and his favoured son Joseph. Whose jealous brothers faked his death and sold him into slavery, shipping him off to Egypt. There, due to a gift for interpreting dreams, he becomes Pharaoh's right hand man after predicting a famine. The same famine which sees his brothers travel to Egypt to seek out some of Egypt's stored grain leading, after some twists and turns, to a big family reunion and a gloriously big finish.

Jac Yarrow and company in Joseph And The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat: Image Tristram Kenton


If a religious tale seems strange to turn into a popular musical, remember Rice and Lloyd Webber also wrote Jesus Christ Superstar in the early seventies. Clearly they knew what they were doing. Structurally, Joseph And The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat is brilliantly conceived, with so many moving parts. Sung through, there's no slack musically or choreographically, with both borrowing heavily from popular styles. Can-can, calypso, barn dance and rock n roll, each executed by arguably the hardest working cast of any touring production.

If the title suggests a show built around a solo lead, Joseph And The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat is really a chorus musical. In which eight female dancers never lose energy and never miss a beat. The men prove to be no slouches either. But it's the children's chorus that sets the bar. Children onstage are often wheeled out for the cute factor, some barely up to the demands of the show. But, aw, aren't they adorable? Well, no actually. Never the case here (though they are cute), this being one of the most impressive children's choruses to be found anywhere. Rising star Jac Yarrow as pretty boy Joesph acquits himself like a seasoned veteran, along with a scene stealing Bobby Windemark as Pharaoh, and the extraordinary Linzi Hateley as The Narrator. Hateley the glue which binds it all together, her performance effortless and infectious.

Linzi Hateley and company in Joseph And The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat: Image Tristram Kenton


Director Laurence Connor does a magnificent job ensuring all the moving parts meld into a whirling dervish of joy and colour. Ben Cracknell's lights, Gareth Owen's sound, Morgan Large's set and costumes, along with singing, dancing, movement, add you own; none are found wanting. If any dream will do for Jospeh, those with more demanding tastes will not be disappointed. A dazzling rollercoaster of music and spectacle, Joseph And The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat is a show not to be missed.


Joseph And The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, lyrics by Tim Rice, music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, presented by Michael Harrison, David Mirvish, Tulchin Bartner Productions, Crossroads Live, Adam Blanshaw, by arrangement with The Really Useful Group Limited, runs at Bord Gáis Energy Theatre until August 27.

For more information visit Bord Gáis Energy Theatre

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