Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
Watford Colosseum and then on tour
It is over 40 years since the early versions of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat were first staged, but the show continues to excite and entertain audiences today. The long-running touring production from director and producer Bill Kenwright is back, with new cast members and orchestrations that keep it fresh and full of energy.
I caught up with it at Watford Colosseum, where it is playing until Saturday before heading off to another 14 theatres until June. Following in a long line of Josephs from the world of pop, former X Factor finalist Lloyd Daniels returns after last year’s successful tour. He has an endearing charm and boyband good looks that make him perfect for the role, along with a pop-style voice that displays rich mellifluous tones when he is belting out the showstoppers.
Until the end of this week, Rebekah Lowings has returned as the Narrator, temporarily filling the shoes of another X Factor finalist, Marcus Collins, who quit before the 2015 tour opened in Cheltenham last week. Less than a year after graduating from Guildford School of Acting, Rebekah is an incredible talent, with a pitch-perfect, expressive voice of clarity and beauty that suggests that one day soon – in the words of the Pharaoh – she could be a star. After Watford, she will be replaced for the rest of the tour by Amelia Lily – yet another X Factor finalist – in her professional stage debut.
The other star name is Matt Lapinskas, an ex-EastEnder who joined the tour last year in the small but scene-stealing role of the Elvis-like Pharaoh. Not appearing until the second half, he lives up to expectations with a hip-grinding, swaggering performance, including “King of my Heart” – a song added since the 2007 revival.
With an energetic and talented ensemble, the show gives the audience everything they came for, from the much-loved songs to comedy bordering on campness. You get inflatable sheep, singing camels and dancing Egyptians alongside musical pastiches with line-dancing cowboys, gospel choirs, calypso singers and Edith Piaf-style cabaret. This is enhanced by deft choreography by Henry Metcalfe, who also plays Jacob and Potiphar, and slick lighting design by Nick Richings.
The production keeps faithful to the show’s roots as a school production, with a backing choir of young children who remain on stage throughout and get their moment in the spotlight with a medley after the interval. For the Watford Colosseum, this task was beautifully performed by children from two local choirs, Stagecoach Watford and Stagecoach Stanmore and Harrow Weald. It all adds to the recipe for an entertaining, joyful show that is a delight right through to the final Joseph Megamix that had the audience on their feet dancing and singing along.