Joseph And The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat
Joe McElderry UK Tour Cast Recording
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Joseph And His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat has come a long way since it debuted as a pop cantata at London’s Colet Court School in 1968. Lasting all of 15 minutes, it was the first time anything by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice had ever been performed in public. Fast forward to 2017, with pit stops for major productions at the London Palladium starring Jason Donovan and at the Adelphi Theatre with Lee Mead (via a reality tv search) and a great filmed version starring Donny Osmond and you come to the show’s current star Joe McElderry (another TV talent find) produced by Bill Kenwright, who must surely go down in the Joseph history books as the man who has produced more tours of Joseph than anyone else on earth – and thank goodness he did.
Joseph (The Show) has always been a particular favourite of mine. Masterful in its simplicity, it shows tuneful zing by a young Lloyd Webber and a taste of the lyrical wizardry that was to come from Tim Rice. It’s enormously unoffensive, infectiously catchy and something that if prompted I bet many people could sing by heart and probably do at karaoke nights across the country.
I’ve not seen the current tour but the show seems in pretty good shape if this cast album is anything to go by.
Joe McElderry makes for a good Joseph. Big on pop sensibility, he comes across as a very likeable leading man. You could really go to town on the Joe/Joseph wordplays here but all in all his portrayal is pleasant to listen to and he does a good job. His versions of Close Every Door and the finale Any Dream Will Do/ Give Me My Coloured Coat are stirring.
Joe (the actor) is supported by an uncredited group of performers (I assume from the last or current tour) who really make this album take flight. The vocals on numbers including One More Angel In Heaven, Potiphar, Those Canaan Days and Benjamin’s Calypso are brilliant and hit the mark every time.
This recording also includes King Of My Heart which was included in the 2007 revival. It’s a great sounding track, again sung by an uncredited performer but listening to the show as a whole I’m still not sure it fits.
One major difference between recent recordings and this one is that the Palladium Megamix is absent. It’s a shame as it was a fun way to round out this wonderful family show.
At the end of the day, I’ll hold my hand up and say that I’ve played this through four times, singing along with the lyrics and realising that I probably know most of it – which is not something I perhaps should admit to. I love the wonderful harmonies, the fabulous chorus of children providing backing vocals and a cast led by Joe McElderry who have left me thinking that a visit to see the show is perhaps long overdue.
At a time when the worries of the world are huge, Joseph And His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat is a wonderful way to escape for a few hours way, way back to many centuries ago. How could anyone resist?