Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
- Kelly Apter
- 21 March 2019
The songs still soar, the coat's still colourful but this 1970s musical feels of its time
After almost 50 years of performances, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat has found its way into many people's hearts. Its writers, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice come with the finest pedigree in the business, and the score packs in more genres than a record shop.
Yet throughout, you can't help but feel you're watching a school end of year production (which, given the amount of amateur productions this show has seen, is perhaps unsurprising). Entirely sung-through, the show's staging is relatively simple, so too the choreography, which needn't be a bad thing – but coupled with the bizarre (and on press night, malfunctioning) props leaves you wondering if this clever and catchy music doesn't deserve a more elaborate setting.
What elevates the production from school show to polished professionalism is the superb cast, who do indeed do Lloyd Webber and Rice's songs justice. It would be easy to make the assumption that a former ITV talent show contestant (X Factor) and boy band member (Union J) has been brought in purely as the token celebrity. Yet nothing could be further from the truth – Jaymi Hensley is a true musical theatre talent, with a full voice and passionate delivery.
A lot has changed since Joseph … opened in the West End in 1973, and with shows such as Hamilton and Matilda now re-defining musical theatre, Joseph's coat (while resplendent on Hensley's back) feels a little faded.
Reviewed at Edinburgh Playhouse.