Everyone knows Bill Kenwright’s production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, the Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice musical masterpiece. It’s a musical version of the biblical story of Joseph, who can read dreams and ultimately tell the future. His jealous brothers cause him endless grief but Joseph overcomes his challenges to discover that Any Dream Will Do!
It’s a truly feel good story that bops along with a huge variety of musical styles allowing the production to appeal to every member of the family. The stage design from Sean Cavanagh is getting a little old now, with blow up sheep and singing cardboard camels not quite matching the technological standards of other modern productions. This doesn’t matter, though, because everyone loves the old school style of Joseph and it’s become a theatrical style in its own right.
The new choreography from Gary Lloyd perfectly complements that of Henry Metcalfe, and direction from Bill Kenwright gets it right yet again. This touring show puts a spotlight on Benjamin more so than usual, which is a great choice as it adds an extra plot dimension – a sweet picked on younger brother who wants to do the best for Joseph. Alex Hetherington as Benjamin does a great job and has all the right comically sweet expressions to pull the part off.
The brothers are all fantastic, in particular Joshua Robinson as Zebulan who sings Benjamin Calypso. Unfortunately Henry Metcalfe as Jacob/Potiphar is a little old for the role now, meaning he doesn’t quite have the gravitas the role demands. Luckily he’s surrounded by a hugely talented cast of men who pick up the slack.
The Narrator is played perfectly by Trina Hill who is magical in the role and completely captivates the audience. She’s not overbearing yet handles the part with complete professionalism, holding the stage together.
Each time I’ve seen Joseph, the title role has been played with a slightly new twist. Whether that’s a super sensitive Joseph, an ingenuous one or even an arrogant one, there’s a particular personality trait that underpins his actions and makes his less favourable traits more palatable. Jaymi Hensley plays the role like an overly educated irritant. The constant vibrato in his voice makes every song he sings unpleasant, as does the gurning and over acting. Frankly, if I were one of the brothers I’d sell him to the ishmaelites as well.
I wouldn’t let Jaymi Hensley put you off seeing the show, though, as it really is a fantastic musical and doesn’t come around as often as I’d like (I am a huge fan of the show though!)
Catch it at Leeds Grand Theatre until 15th June!