First and foremost I would like to point out that I have never, ever seen Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat before on stage, TV or even engaged in reading the story. I went into this show blind and from the word go that ‘oh so familiar’ grin appeared on my face once again – I call this ‘theatre fever’. You just can’t help but smile.
The show kicks off…Joseph appears and suddenly I realise – THAT’S H FROM STEPS! Yes, truly. Now I know Ian ‘H’ Watkins has played the character before but I am more than surprised he has arrived on stage at the Theatre Royal! H plays the part of Joseph very well, although I don’t really have much to compare him to (nothing in fact!); however he manages to completely engulf me in every emotion that Joseph feels from happy, sad, angry, jealous, confused and super enthusiastic. He really is born for musical theatre – something I always thought of him way back when Steps were in the charts. He reminds me of a Disney character – magical, enchanting and ALWAYS HAPPY! I can’t imagine what an angry H would actually look like?!
The biblical story of Joseph was of course written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and inspired by the brotherhood of man and twelve sons of Jacob, played by Henry Metcalfe. The performers of the night, aside from lead man Ian Watkins, were Handmaidens: Jennie Abbotts, Danielle Acors and Meg Astin for their expert technical dance ability and Sackie Osakonor who played brother Dan for his amazing voice – a stunning tone and pitch, I just wish we could have heard more from him. But the star of the night had to be the fantastic Richard J Hunt, who played the Baker and Judah, both brilliantly! A talented dancer and singer as well as perfecting a serious of accents from French to Scottish – his enthusiasm exuded and you could tell he was genuinely happy to be a part of the show. He was fantastic! The Theatre Group choir deserve a special mention and there are definitely a few ‘ones to watch’ in last night’s group.
The stage itself seemed to experience a few technical hitches involving the inflation of sheep…so much so that the sheep didn’t return after the first 5 minutes. But all in all I did find the stage set a little dull. I love how scenes evolve and new screens appear in theatre, but the stage didn’t change for the entirety, just a few extra props placed here and there but an impressive array of costumes and costume changes. The characters between scenes were evident and if it hadn’t have been for these changes (thank you Wardrobe team) I am not sure I would have enjoyed the production as much!
Of course ending with Joseph and his amazingly, colourful, fancy-pants, snazzy, rainbow like coat. One finale was enough for me and after what seemed like 83 bows to the audience the curtain closed.
A great show for all ages and perfect for the family. A musical that we have all at least heard of, even if we haven’t seen it. I will definitely look out for another adaptation, perhaps one without an Elvis impersonation next time? And of course, the Theatre Royal in Brighton gives you that home-grown, up close and personal theatre experience that I simply adore.