Wycombe Swan, High Wycombe
29 November 2014, 2.00pm
It was one hot afternoon this summer, when having run out of patience with watching yet another re-run of the CBeebies’ panto, I thought V might like to watch Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat on DVD – several hundred showings later she is more or less word perfect!
It was therefore a no-brainer, as an early Christmas treat, to take her to see this timeless show live and she wasn’t disappointed – the latest production on a UK tour is an excellent and faithful rendition which is what an audience wants.
Joseph is a bit like Marmite. You either love it or you hate it, and just as I am rather partial to the yeast extract based spread, I have always enjoyed Joseph!
In a nutshell the story is as it is in Genesis and if on the off chance you’re not familiar with it the basic tale is thus.
Jacob has 12 sons but favours the youngest Joseph, seemingly just because he liked his mother the best. Joseph has irritating dreams and annoys his brothers by interpreting them as signs that he will end up greater than them. The final straw comes when Jacob gives Joseph a rather snazzy coat, thus calling his parenting skills into question by singling out one child for special treatment.
The brothers plot to get rid of annoying Jo, quite understandably in my view, and he is eventually sold as a slave bound for Egypt where, after a spell languishing in jail, he finds the greatness that he dreamed about as an interpreter of the Pharaoh’s dreams.
After some ridiculous scam with a golden cup that I still don’t fully understand, Joseph, who is supposed to be the hero, is eventually vindicated.
Whatever you think of the story, the re-telling of the Biblical tale finds great form in a string of highly entertaining song and dance numbers in very different styles, from country and western to Parisian and gospel to Hawaiian.
The latest cast put in an energetic performance and looked as though they were genuinely enjoying themselves throughout!
Former X Factor hopeful Lloyd Daniels shines in the title role with a charming innocence and winning smile that makes you forget how irritating the character can be while Danielle Hope, who played Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz after winning the BBC’s Over the Rainbow show was a sweet narrator with very strong, clear vocals that filled the theatre.
Forget the pair’s reality show beginnings, they fully deserve these roles on talent alone and not just to draw in an audience.
Understudy Perry O’Dea took on the role of the hip-shakin’ Elvis style Pharoah and was a real highlight for us. My mum was particularly enamoured, saying he was the closest to thing to Elvis she had ever heard – completely mesmerising but not over the top. A true star!
Meanwhile, the brothers, of all shapes, looks and sizes fairly bounded on stage every time, helping the show move along at an energetic pace.
V loved the added extras that set the show apart from the film that she loves – the inflatable sheep, the singing camel, and a rather impressive motorbike.
The sing and dance-along finale, which gives the wardrobe department the chance to showcase a parachute style coloured coat, was joyful and the whole show is cheery and fun from start to finish – it’s Joseph – what more can I say?!
It’s not a dedicated children’s production or a panto but thanks to the colour, the variety of song styles and the humour, young children still love it!
Run time: About two hours including an interval.
Age Range: I think four or five as the youngest age is about right – for a matinee obviously. An evening performance would be just a little to late a finish.
Other stuff: Lots of merchandise including CDs, hats and dreamcatchers. We got a programme but we were a little disappointed the full souvenir programmes had run out as it was the last day of the tour before Christmas.