September 2, 2008

Dream Show Truly Dazzles

Young reviewer VICTORIA WATSON catches the opening night of Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, which is at the Theatre Royal, Newcastle, until Saturday, September 13

JOSEPH kicked off in style last night. Considering this is a show where three of the main parts are played by people who didn't win Andrew Lloyd Webber's search for Josephs and Nancys, there is absolutely nothing second-rate about the performances.

Give me Craig Chalmers over Lee Mead any day.

Craig was in fine voice and I have to say, the skimpy outfit he wore for a great deal of this fine musical nearly diverted my attention from the classic tale!

That said, Craig's solo at the end of Act 1 really showcased his impressive vocals.

Tara Bethan, who made it to the Top Ten of I'd Do Anything, really excelled in her role as the Narrator. Her enthusiasm was incredible and she looked like she was truly enjoying the show.

Her dancing was spot-on and she hit every difficult note with ease. Anthony Hansen, who also featured in Any Dream Will Do with Craig, played the comic role of Pharaoh in the style of Elvis with real zest.

The story is based on the Biblical story of Joseph, found in the book of Genesis, but is told firmly with tongue-in-cheek. Although this is a typical tale of sibling rivalry and redemption, this production is both funny and touching.

There are several musical pastiches, including the hoe-down featuring One More Angel. The classic elements of Joseph are all present and correct, with the notably different musical styles being reflected in the super costumes. Although we see the 1920s Charleston, 1970s disco, as well as cheerleaders, all of the superb costumes remained true to the Middle Eastern location with each featuring something classically Egyptian.

Joseph's dreamcoat is not the only technicolored piece of clothing in this production; everything from costumes to the beautiful scenery is outstanding.

Every member of the cast, which included a choir from Stagecoach Theatre Arts School, gave it their all.

The finale of the show features a Joseph megamix which had the packed audience giving the cast the ovation they deserved.

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