Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat Review

There are two things most people probably know about me: I really, really, really love Joseph… and I’m not the biggest fan of change.

When you’re so in love with the Bill Kenwright production of Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, it’s really hard to understand why a new production would do things differently. That said, the show is still the same feel-good ball of energy, where the entire auditorium leaves smiling ear to ear at the end. The new production, which was recently revamped for a run in the West End before heading out on tour, still captures the magic of Joseph and the cast are marvellous.

Jac Yarrow is likely to be a whole generation’s defining Joseph – he’s got an easy charm about him and it’s this effortless charisma that makes him a great fit for the part. He’s got big shoes to fill, but he slips that Dreamcoat on like it was made for him. A big deal indeed, considering he’s sharing the stage with a past Joseph star, Jason Donovan. This time Mr Donovan plays the Pharaoh, and he takes the show by storm. It’s a really special moment and it’s clearly been engineered to be the absolute highlight – Donovan is a star, and he shines.

Linzi Hateley is a powerful Narrator, drawing the audience into the story with a magic glint in her eye. Quite why the Narrator plays Jacob, and Mrs Potiphar, and the jail keeper, I’ll never know – it feels like too much is placed on Hateley for us to really relax in her company as the Narrator but I feel this is the fault of the multi-roling device rather than Hateley’s performance.

The set is stunning, the props magnificent. I’m not sure what category the giant Horus and life-size puppet camel falls into, but they’re absolutely awesome. The production is over the top in all the best ways with its snazzy lighting effects and colourful costumes, which makes it an absolute feast for the eyes from start to finish.

There are lots of elements of the production that don’t really make sense to me though. One of the loveliest elements of Joseph is the children’s choir, but giving the kids featuring roles as characters in the show feels both unnecessary and unexplained. And don’t expect the amazing coat finale, because you’ll be sorely disappointed.

I’m a HUGE fan of Joseph: the score, the story, the magic of it all. I love it wholeheartedly. I will always love it. Though this new-fangled version might not leave me with the same starry-eyed wonder, there are plenty of audience members experiencing Joseph for the first time and the production will make their day.

It’s vibrant, interesting, funny, heart-warming and technicolour – all you can really ask for in a production of this extremely special musical.

Catch the show at Leeds Grand Theatre until 23rd July.

Photograph credited to Tristram Kenton.

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