Reviewed by Rebecca Wong
At the ripe age of 40 I still hadn’t seen Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Despite its huge popularity in the 90’s when Jason Donovan famously lead the West End cast, I somehow managed to miss every opportunity to see it. So now in 2019 when it came to my local theatre in St. Helens it was at the top of my wish list. Even though I had heard a lot about it I still wasn’t sure what to expect.
Of course, I was familiar with the biblical story of Joseph (played by Tom Bainbridge) and his 11 brothers. Who were unashamedly jealous of Joseph as their father, Jacobs (played by James Head) favourite son. They teased him and taunted him constantly. Joseph had a gift for interpreting dreams in order to foretell the future. He naively would tell his brothers of his dreams which would feature them bowing down to him and him being superior to them. This only served to anger them even more. The final straw came when their father gave Joseph the most wonderful gift of a splendid technicolored coat, as a show of his absolute affection for Joseph.
Jealousy overcame the brothers and they ended up selling Joseph as a slave to some Egyptian travellers. They covered Josephs wonderful coat in the blood of a goat and told their father how brave Joseph had been in his final fight in which he had lost his life. Jacob is distraught.
We then followed Joseph’s story into slavery and eventually imprisonment where his gift for interpreting dreams gets recognised and earns him a privileged position working for the Pharaoh (played by Andrew Geater) and saving Egypt from a great famine. In this position of respect and responsibility Joseph meets his brothers once again, as they bow down to him and beg him for food to help them and Jacob survive. The brothers do not recognise him, and Joseph sees an opportunity to taunt them but after he has his fun, he then reveals his true identity. The brothers are overcome with emotion and relief and beg his forgiveness. Joseph shows that he is indeed good throughout, forgiving them and enjoying an emotional reunion with his father.
It’s a lovely story narrated throughout by the extremely talented Alexandra Doar who expertly guides us through even step of the tale. It was announced just before the show that Joseph would be played by a stand-in Tom Bainbridge. But Tom was no substitute, he portrayed Joseph perfectly, his performance was both mesmerising and authentic. This though could be said for every member of the cast. The Pharaoh, played by Andrew Geater was a real treat. The character is reminiscent of a certain American King of Rock and Roll and was hilarious, fun, entertaining and faultless.
There are too many names to name individually but every member of the cast brought their own dimension to the story, the stage was a constant feast for the eyes. The music was just a celebration of life and the choir from the Performers Theatre School, was just wonderful!
Both my children and I loved every second of it! It is a musical throughout, with no spoken word, which my children were able to follow easily. But the proof was in the standing ovation at the end. I have never seen one like it. Everyone was on their feet, dancing, cheering and whooping as we all joined in singing along to ‘Any Dream will do’. The atmosphere was electric!
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is a real feel good show and a celebration of what theatre is all about. It translates so perfectly to the smaller theatre and has the feel of the great West End shows which is so expertly delivered by every single one of the cast on stage. I cannot give this show enough stars. Make this the top of your to do list while the show in at St. Helens, I want to keep re-living it! It’s great for all the family.
It’s a definite 5/5 from me!
Tickets cost from £33 (booking fees may apply).
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is at the St Helens Theatre Royal from 19-23 November 2019, for more information or to book tickets visit www.sthelenstheatreroyal.com or call the box office on 01744 756000.
St. Helens Theatre Royal, Corporation Street, St.Helens, Merseyside, WA10 1LQ