A little over a year ago, we attended a production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, with Joe McElderry in the central role. That production; the energy, the power, the sheer happiness of it all, inspired my son to take up dance.
A year on, and it was time to revisit the show as the tour arrived in Bristol. Once again, McElderry takes on the role of Joseph, with Lucy Kay as the Narrator. Joseph is one of the most enjoyable and easily accessible musicals there is; most know the story, at least one or two of the songs, and with a running time of just over two hours including interval, it’s a very family-friendly show.
For that reason, it would be easy for the cast to rest on their laurels, and just ‘do the job,’ as it were. However, every single cast member really does throw themselves into the show, delivering one of the highest energy shows I’ve seen. Not one person rests easy; every person is committed to their role, and in turn, that means that the audience thoroughly enjoys every second.
I didn’t think that McElderry could improve on his performance from a year ago, but he did. He was, perhaps, born for the part. He has matured into a confident, strong performer who seems to enjoy playing the role of Joseph as much as we enjoy watching him.
Once again, Kay does a sterling job as a narrator, her pitch perfect vocals and clear diction making her a joy to listen to, and while permanently a presence on stage, she is never intrusive on the action. Special mention, too, to Ben James-Ellis as Pharaoh, who managed the perfect Elvis impersonation that the audience loved. The cast of brothers has changed slightly since we last saw the show, but they’re all equally as energetic and enthusiastic as I remember, and they interact with the audience at the end of the show, which makes life complete for some of the younger audience members.
So then, a year on, and Joseph is even better than it was; an entirely enjoyable evening out at the theatre for all. It also serves as inspiration for anyone considering starting out in the arts; at a time when school budgets are cut massively in this area, and children are being encouraged towards academic subjects, how utterly wonderful to be reminded of the pure, unadulterated joy that theatre can bring. My son is still dancing, and singing, thanks to the cast of Joseph.