Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Joseph - Manchester (on tour)

Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
Music: Andrew Lloyd-Webber
Lyrics: Tim Rice
Director: Bill Kenwright
Reviewer: Stephanie Rowe

After seeing a few other performances of Joseph both Professional and Amateur and enjoying each and every one, I was really looking forward to this show. The show opened with the narrator and two children walking across the stage while the narrator introduced the story of Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat, the back drop was like the inside of a pyramid with hieroglyphics on it and scenes from Egypt. The scenery (designed by Sean Cavanagh) was ‘typical’ Joseph with the Stairs going up either side of the stage and pillars and palm trees at the edge of the stairs.

Craig Chalmers one of the finalists from last years BBC hit series Any Dream Will Do, gave a very impressive performance even being very amusing in parts, though I do feel he was lacking slightly in his vocal range, as was Tara Bethan (Narrator) especially in the first half when you could hardly hear her due to the softness of her voice.

The dancing abilities of the Brothers and Handmaidens were fantastic and along with their singing, they carried the show during the first half when the others voices were too quiet. The singing and dancing of Robert Gwyn as Benjamin was of a very high standard as was the abilities of Adebayo Bolaji as Issachar and Maria Coyne as a handmaiden.

Realistically there is not a lot you can do with the performance of Joseph to make it any different from previously seen productions, although director Bill Kenwright manages to do it, showing why he is such a renowned director worldwide.

The children of the Joseph Choir from the Stagecoach Theatre school in Chester were seated along the stairs throughout the performance and started the second half by singing a few chorus’s from some of the songs performed in the first half, this did leave me feeling rather embarrassed for them as they did not seem to be enjoying the experience at all and one can only hope that as the show progresses they will start to enjoy it more.

I did feel that in some places the humour was very over done, making it a bit farcical in places. Over all the show was enjoyable and the audience were clearly enjoying themselves singing along, especially at the end when they did the reprise and Joseph Megamix.
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