The lively return of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s musical is filled with exuberant joy that makes it impossible to resist.
Filled with playfulness and joy that makes for a perfect match for Tim Rice’s smartly funny lyrics, Laurence Connor’s production definitely ensures that audiences leave with a massive smile on their faces – as well as singing the songs on their way home.
Based on the biblical tale, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat follows the fortunes of Joseph and his brothers through highs and lows, told through some immensely memorable songs. This production is delightfully bright and colourful thanks to Morgan Large’s gorgeously vibrant costume design that matches the spiritedness of the story and music.
While initially Large’s set design comes across as suprisingly simple and basic for the scale of the musical and filling of the London Palladium, it soon transforms in a mesmerising way for the Pharaoh’s (Jason Donovan) big number ‘Song of the Pharaoh’ – featuring plenty of dazzle in all senses. But the space of the set allows for Joann M. Hunter’s lively and fun-filled choreography to take centre stage – particularly during the energetic ‘Go, Go, Go Joseph’ and the hilarious but smartly choreographed ‘Those Canaan Days’.
What also makes this production such a joy to watch is the way in which it incorporates its child cast right into the centre of the production. In particular, the whole Potiphar sequence is hilariously brought to life by having a child playing the wealthy man who takes Joseph on as his slave – it heightens the humour of the script beautifully and there are plenty of other moments in which the children of the cast threaten to outshine the adult cast!
But from the entire cast there is a whole exuberant joy about their performances that sweeps the audience along effortlessly and with great charm. Alexandra Burke as the Narrator is wonderfully mischievous, really making the most of every line and certainly making her own mark on the role in a delightful way – not least when she doubles up as Potiphar’s wife and has to seduce Joseph in a wonderfully over the top way.
Elsewhere, Jac Yarrow stepping once more into the famous technicolor dreamcoat as Joseph provides a charming and charismatic performance – but also shows great depth and range vocally – with a spine tingling rendition of ‘Close Every Door’ that has a great poignancy about it. Meanwhile, Jason Donovan as the Pharaoh really makes the most of his big number and scene – delightfully flamboyant it is certainly a memorable performance.
Yes, it could be said the story feels a little bit flimsy in places there is no denying that this is still a fun-filled and entertaining musical that is set to still delight audiences young and old.
By Emma Clarendon
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat will play at the London Palladium until the 5th September. To book tickets click here or visit: Love Theatre.com, London Theatre Direct.com, Theatre Tickets Direct, From the Box Office or Last Minute.com.