Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

Feb 18 2015 | By More

★★★★☆    Poster colours

Edinburgh Playhouse: Tue 17 – Sat 21 Feb 2015

Big, slick and growing ever more gaudy, Bill Kenwright’s record-breaking touring production of Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat arrives at the Edinburgh Playhouse with sparkling new narrator Amelia Lily at the helm.

Joseph started life as a short vocal adaptation for schools of the Old Testament story of Joseph and his many-coloured coat, but it has moved on hugely from its 1960s roots. Indeed, every time it returns to Edinburgh, it appears to have added an extra little item – or maybe it just seems that way.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat - Matt Lapinskas as Pharaoh and Lloyd Daniels as Joseph. Photo: Darren Bell

Matt Lapinskas as Pharaoh with Lloyd Daniels as Joseph. Photo: Darren Bell

This does mean that the whole runs a bit long once the Megamix finale and succession of scheduled encores have passed. But on the positive side, all the treasured moments are retained so no-one returning to the show for a second look is likely to miss their own favourite bit.

The pared-back 1920s decadence of Potiphar (the Egyptian millionaire still played by the show’s choreographer Henry Metcalfe), the big Elvis-style routine in Pharaoh’s Dream Explained (Matt Lapinskas who has a fine set of pipes, but sounds like he is using them through a mouth full of cotton wool) and the fake maudlin country of One More Angel in Heaven are all present and pretty much correct.

The newly added element this time, making her own debut in the show four and a half years since Keith Jack debuted as Joseph on the same stage, is Amelia Lily – taking over the role at short notice after Marcus Collins dropped out.

The narrator is vital to the show and Lily has many things exactly right. In particular, she has a bright spikiness to her voice which allows her to get out all the words and vital plot development without ever appearing to over-enunciate.

Joseph is essentially a series of musical tableaux. It needs that strong narratorial voice to ensure that the tale swings quickly along. If it wasn’t a perfect first performance from Lily, the odd missed line only showed how much influence she is already exerting. The slips are unlikely to reoccur but that influence will hopefully increase enough to pull the whole show out of what can, at times, appear to be an excess of spectacle over storytelling.

bounce and vitality

If Lily has bounce and vitality, her singing voice isn’t quite perfect for the role and the break between her lower and upper registers shows as she moves back and forth into the upper range. She can belt out the high notes, no problem, but hitting with volume them mid-tune is less successful.

In the storytelling of the piece, she is not helped hugely by Lloyd Daniels, who plays Joseph. Daniels has a lovely, smooth singing voice which just oozes out of his lower register. If it was a chocolate it would be a Galaxy, but it is hardly the most expressive piece of vocal equipment on the stage, which is a shame as Close Every Door can be more than a pretty but tear-inducing tune.

Lloyd Daniels as Joseph. Photo: Darren Bell

Lloyd Daniels as Joseph. Photo: Darren Bell

For those who picture Joseph in chains as possessing the golden haired, shiny physique of Rocky (from the Rocky Horror Picture Show, not Sylvester Stalone) minus the golden shorts, then Daniels has exactly the right kind of satisfyingly beefcake looks.

In many ways, Daniels epitomises the ethos of the whole production, in that it looks great and swishes smoothly from one rippling scene to the next but is not always entirely appropriate. And those pesky blow-up sheep still don’t inflate every time.

Besides Lilly’s spritely vocals, there is another glimmer of light in there in the form of Sam Hallion who is effervescent as Benjamin, the second youngest of Jacob’s sons. He has a real stage presence and would look very good in the title role.

Joseph is as big and powerful as it ever was. A bit over-bloated but still belting out some of the finest tunes Andrew Lloyd Webber has written.

Running time: 2 hour 15 minutes (including interval)
Edinburgh Playhouse, 18 – 22 Greenside Place, Edinburgh, EH1 3AA
Tuesday 17 – Saturday 21 February 2015
Evenings: Tue-Thurs 7.30 pm; Fri/Sat 5pm and 8pm. Matinee: Weds/Thurs 2.30 pm; Sat 2pm.

Full details and tickets on the Playhouse website:

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat on tour:
17 – 21 Feb 2015 Playhouse Theatre
0844 871 7627 Book online
24 – 28 Feb 2015 Southport Theatre
01704 500036 Book online
3 – 8 Mar 2015 Lyceum Theatre
01270 368 242 Book online
10 – 15 Mar 2015 The Dome
01302370777 Book online
17 – 21 Mar 2015 The Spa
01262 401 400 Book online
24 – 29 Mar 2015 Theatre Royal
01225 448 844 Book online
31 Mar – 4 Apr 2015 Waterside Theatre
08448717615 Book online
7 – 11 Apr 2015 Theatre Royal
01752 267222 Book online
14 – 19 Apr 2015 Winding Wheel
01246 345 222 Book online
21 – 25 Apr 2015 Belgrade Theatre
024 7655 3055 Book online
28 Apr – 2 May 2015 Woodville Theatre
01474337774 Book online
19 – 23 May 2015 Swindon Theatre
01793 524 481 Book online
26 – 30 May 2015 De Montfort Hall
0116 242 3595 Book online
2 – 6 Jun 2015 Regent Theatre
01473433100 Book online


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