Society: New Wimbledon Theatre (professional)
Venue: New Wimbledon Theatre, The Broadway, Wimbledon, London
Credits: Lyrics by Tim Rice. Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Produced by Bill Kenwright with The Really Useful Group.
Performance Date: 21/01/2020
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
Paul Johnson | 22 Jan 2020 23:43pm
Alexandra Doar (The Narrator) and Mark McMullan (Joseph) – Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat – Photo: Pamela Raith
I’ve personally been reviewing Bill Kenwright’s iconic touring production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat for almost ten years, during which time I don’t think the show has been off the road. I wonder what the young teenage Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice would have thought of their new fifteen-minute ‘school cantata’ – over fifty years ago – if they’d had a vision of things to come back in 1968. I very much doubt if this production’s director/producer, Mr Kenwright, could have seen such a long shelf-life either when he worked on a new production forty years ago. It is, quite simply, the longest running touring musical of all time!
The show is still famously short and relies on a multitude of clever reprises to stretch it out over a couple of hours. Not that the sellout audiences are complaining. From the drawn-out initial overture to the final (and original) ‘megamix’, including possibly four or five versions of Any Dream Will Do, the catchy numbers which borrow their style from every musical genre out there have paved the way for Lloyd Webber and Rice to rule Theatreland.
Incredibly, Kenwright’s original choreographer, Henry Metcalfe, is still with the production in the role of Jacob (doubling as Potiphar), alongside a myriad of stars who have donned the famous, biblical ‘Dreamcoat’ over the years. Passing through New Wimbledon Theatre this week it falls to BGT finalist, Mark McMullan, to Close Every Door and wow the UK’s audiences. To be honest, the show is so slickly run now, it would be fairly difficult to fail. However, this guy has quite a set of pipes on him and he takes on some of musical theatre’s most-popular numbers in spectacular style.
Gary Lloyd’s additional choreography has kept the show sharp, and Sean Cavanagh’s classic design still affords a group of children (the Joseph Choir) a priceless opportunity to feature onstage throughout in a full-on professional touring production. They even open act two with, yes you’ve guessed it, more reprises. Luckily, with tunes this catchy, reprises are welcomed time and time again.
Alexandra Doar makes an excellent professional debut as Narrator and Henry Lawes, who only graduated in 2018, goes some way to stealing the show as Pharaoh (even doubling as one of Joseph’s brothers, Asher). It’s easy to see how much Bill Kenwright loves Elvis as this King of Egypt could be straight out of Las Vegas. There’s even an additional song given to the pelvis-gyrating, god-like Phoraoh, King of My Heart, during which a multitude of Elvis hits are reeled out.
It’s all going on in SW19 this week and you don’t need to believe in (or have even read) the Bible to enjoy this religious tale from the Old Testament. And as long as people keep lapping up classic numbers such as Go, Go, Go, Joseph; Jacob and Sons; One More Angel in Heaven; Close Every Door; Song of the King; Those Canaan Days; Any Dream Will Do; and Banjamin Calypso… this show will probably tour forever!
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is playing at New Wimbledon Theatre until Saturday, 25 January before continuing its tour.
- : admin
- : 21/01/2020