Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat: (seen at
the afternoon performance on 13th July 2019). Fresh, funny and fabulous,
this is a 21st Century re-interpretation with emphasis firmly on its origins as
a delight for the brightest children - including Andrew and Timothy.
Director Laurence Connor takes the whole show from the
kids' point of view. Narrator (and more - but always still her, as she reminds
us) Sheridan Smith teams up with a gang of youngsters, with whom she shares the
story in every way. Smith's energy and side-comments are a one-woman firework
display, and it is an utter delight to see her sparkle return. This is reflected
by every child in the ensemble, particularly noting those who play... well...
that would give away the brilliant and often hilarious surprises set up...
Newcomer Jac Yarrow gets the title role and accompanying
coat, and wears it with honour. "Any Dream Will Do" becomes 'proper meaningful'
(as his stage dad might say), each word thought about and indeed given
contrasting meaning at the beginning and end of his journey.
Cover Richard Carson as Pharaoh (Jason Donovan taking the
day off to fulfil a pre-contractual agreement, apparently) will probably
headline one day in a show about Elvis. This King is hip, adored by his
subjects, and knows how to rock Egypt as well as find the right man to feed it.
John Cameron gives us fresh orchestrations, Joann M. Hunter
dance moves old and new to go with them - and Stuart Burt puts together a
cracking team of brothers and wives (oh, those Can'aan Ladies - great wigs Mr
Mawbey) to perform them. Note too for Ben Cracknell's intelligently varied
lighting and also Morgan Large's clever sets and costumes. From the big stuff of
Vegas and jail, to the hysterical camels and the witty little notes (minus one
sign, and later the burger recipe and Phantom mask hieroglyphics), that's
award-winning right there.
If there are any criticisms, the only one is that a few of
the dance breaks do go on a little longer than perhaps required. Fun, but the
story did need to get on - particularly the elongated "Can Can" being a good
joke if it were quicker. It's a minor quibble, though.
This is a glorious kaleidoscope of talents serving up a
beloved show in a mega-mixed delight to audiences old and new, old and young and
all manner between.
5 stars, standing ovation. May the monkey return...