Bill Kenwright’s touring production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s biblical musical is undergoing another UK tour and this theatregoer was thrilled to encounter a remarkably slicker production than the 2013 tour. Following a last minute contract withdrawal from the original star headlined to be the show’s Narrator, Amelia Lily sweeped in to save the day with her strong vocals and impressive knowledge of the show regardless of her limited time in rehearsals. In the absences of long-running Jacob/Potiphar Henry Metcalfe, Chris Kayson stepped into the roles with a breath of fresh energy. The ensemble, too, seemed sharper than before and Lloyd Daniels provided an adorable Welsh charm to the titular character. As the result of an impressively strong cast, the overall show became a much more enjoyable experience; one could relax and enjoy the child-targeted special effects and be swept up in the charmingly quirky work of Lloyd Webber. Until the next tour!
For two weeks only, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s touring musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is residing in Glasgow’s King’s Theatre. Starring a cast of eighteen members include a very strong ensemble, Joseph transports the audience “way way back, many centuries ago” and tells the iconic biblical story of Joseph, his adoring father and eleven jealous brothers.
Ian H Watkins, best known as H in the successful band of the late 1990s and early 2000s Steps is featured in many advertising campaigns for this tour of Joseph and indeed is the star of the show. No matter if he is sporting some rags, a coat of many colours or simply a loin cloth, Watkins looks like he is having the time of his life playing the role of his dreams. His vocals are surprisingly strong and clear, his rendition of Close Every Door being a stand out moment of the show that promises to raise more than a few goosebumps towards the climax of the well known song.
Jennifer Potts was far from the vocally powerful actress required for the role of the Narrator. Her voice was lost among the harmonising choir of children thus most of the storyline drifted over the audience’s head, the essential lyrical guide to the musical completely drowned out. This makes Joseph a very hard show to watch, it is near impossible to relax and simply enjoy the show, even for those familiar with the biblical story. When Potts could be heard, her voice was not pleasant to the ear, making her a curious choice for the character that must carry the show.
However, it must be acknowledged that the rest of the company were of an excellent standard. Go Go Go Joseph soloists Meg Astin and Sackie Osakonor provided some of the best vocals of the night. The choreography by Henry Metcalfe is a delight to watch, another stand out moment being the Parisian dance during Those Canaan Days.
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is a feel good show that doesn’t quite reach the heights it has the potential to reach due to unfortunate casting. A mishap with Joseph’s multicoloured coat resulted in a somewhat tangled mess that was no where near the impressive fan effect usually seen in promotional shots for the show – another disappointment to add to the collection.
If you are a fan of Steps then it is worth a trip to see Ian H Watkin’s fantastic portrayal of Joseph. If you are a fan of the show then perhaps it is better to steer clear of this production of the show.