It’s certainly NOT time for this classic musical to get its coat if the rip-roaring, innovative kaleidoscope of fun at Nottingham’s Theatre Royal is anything to go by.
Anyone who loves a musical will have indelibly etched on their minds iconic songs from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
The likes of ‘Close Every Door’ and ‘Any Dream Will Do’ immediately spring to mind.
Anyone who thinks of Joseph, including many of the die-hard fans in the opening-night audience in Nottingham, will also immediately think of the likes of Phillip Schofield or Lee Meads in the title role.
But in this production — and for the ongoing tour — the man charged with sporting said Dreamcoat is the talented Joe McElderry, who first shot to fame as winner of TV’s X Factor in 2009.
And he carries it off with a level of swagger that, from the moment he is first revealed on stage, has you believing this was a role made for him.
With power in his voice, presence under the spotlight and a flawless performance — most notably in his emotional rendition of the forementioned ‘Close Every Door’ — he was the star turn of what I felt was a wonderful show.
What’s more, he and his fellow cast members had to be on their toes in what is an incredibly action-packed production making the most of the work by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Tim Rice and Bill Kenwright.
The Biblical story tells the tale of Joseph who, being his father’s favourite of his 12 sons, is presented with an amazing coat of many colours. When jealousy consumes his siblings they fake his death and sell Joseph as a slave to some passing Ishmaelites who take him to Egypt.
In Egypt he becomes a slave of Potipher and he rises through the ranks but when Mrs Potipher turns her attentions to him and Joseph spurns her it matters little as Potipher overhears, believes Joseph has made advances on his wife and has him thrown in jail.
However, it is Joseph’s ability to interpret dreams that brings him ultimately to the attention of the Pharoah and when Joseph saves Egypt from famine he once again climbs the ladder and eventually things come full circle as he once again comes face to face with his brothers.
But this only tells a small part of this production, which is peppered with innovation, including Joseph’s 11 brothers telling of his demise at the hands of a goat as cowboys, the Pharoah reincarnated as Elvis to explain his dreams, calypso tunes and even a Parisienne section full of angst as Joseph’s father and brothers reveal how famine has affected their family in Joseph’s absence.
As the narrator, Lucy Kay is outstanding with her voice holding the attention of the audience.
The songs performed by the actors as Joseph’s brothers are smooth and packed with comedy timing, and some of the biggest roars and bouts of applause are reserved for Ben James-Ellis as Pharoah, complete with full white jumpsuit.
And mention must go to the young performers of AGF Performing Arts who provided the choir.
This was an outstanding prformance — apart from rogue inflatable ship which didn’t want to play by the rules — and was encapsulated by the raucous encore which had the whole audience up on their feet.
To find out more about Joseph, which continues until Saturday April 29, and other shows coming up at Nottingham’s Theatre Royal and Royal Concert Hall CLICK HERE.
If you missed out on Joseph in Nottingham, CLICK HERE to find more dates around the country as part of the tour.