Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat – Bord Gais Energy Theatre – Review
by G. O’Byrne
8 Oct 2019 – 12 Oct 2019
Presented by Bill Kenwright
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is a musical with lyrics by Tim Rice and music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and was their first of many famous musicals to be performed publicly. The musical had its professional premiere at the Edinburgh International Festival in 1972.
The show first opened in Ireland on March 4th, 1974 with Tony Kenny playing the lead. Pharaoh was played by Cahir O’Doherty in full ‘Vegas Elvis’ regalia. Its family-friendly story, familiar themes and catchy music have resulted in it becoming a staple favourite on the Irish scene and it has been performed many times in the intervening years. The show has only a few lines of spoken dialogue; it is almost entirely sung-through with the narrator unifying the various scenes.
This is a colourful retelling of the biblical story about Joseph and his “coat of many colours” from the Bible’s Book of Genesis. Joseph’s designer coat will appeal to young and old alike with a score which is wall to wall hits – including Close Every Door and Any Dream Will Do. In this retelling of the Biblical story, Joseph is a handsome young man who is his father’s favourite child, able to interpret dreams, and the bearer of an amazing coat. These facts lead Joseph’s eleven brothers to become insatiably jealous. Thus, they sell Joseph into slavery to some passing Ishmaelites. The story follows Joseph’s exploits as he breaks free and forges a new life.
Directed by Bill Kenwright and with original choreography by Henry Metcalfe and additional new choreography by Gary Lloyd, this touring show features Union J’s Jaymi Hensley as Joseph in his first ever major musical role. Having risen to fame on The X Factor, Union J went on to have a top ten album and a major UK tour and Jaymi later appeared on hit TV shows including Celebrity Masterchef (again?). With his boyish good looks and impressive voice he brings a suitable naive charm to the role. The narrator is played by Alexandra Doar in her professional debut and an experienced James Head reprises the role of Jacob he previously played in the UK’s West End in 2002 and 2009, on the earlier occasion with Stephen Gateley. Andrew Geater in full Elvis mode plays an entertaining Pharaoh. There were some enjoyable vocal harmonies amongst the 12 brothers and good set piece dancing. The set was colourful with two sweeping staircases and, at each side, children from the Dublin Stage School sat throughout the performance providing backing vocals. The music and dancing in this show covers many styles, from the Roaring 20’s to Rock and Roll, Gospel, Calypso, Parisian piano accordion and, of course, Las Vegas Elvis as the Pharaoh. The performance brought the audience to its feet at the finish, with reprises of many of the show’s favourite songs. All in all, an enjoyable colourful fun night out for all the family, young and old.