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© Mark Yeoman

Joseph does the job

Sam Bennett reviews Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, in Oxford until 12th March
"A degree of wickedness I had not realised before"

You get some shows where a healthy chunk of people say “I’ve seen it.” Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is one of those but it’s also one where an equally healthy chunk of folk say “I’ve been in it.”

This 2016 production of Joseph doesn’t come equipped with anything ground-breaking, some might even describe it as ever so slightly vanilla, but it is a fluid and reliable presentation of something well and truly embedded in the musical theatre world.

More could be done during the Overture to excite us. There’s a few lighting changes that show up on the Egyptian themed safety curtain, but nothing more it seems. This falls somewhere in between a beginning with a lot to look at and one with absolutely nothing to see. For me either of these would be better, as something only slightly more active than nothing at all comes across as half hearted…odd in a show that then goes on to display a hefty dose of energy.

If you're going to go far in the X Factor, you can't rule out the possibility that once you're done you'll be snapped up for a musical theatre production - seems to be the way it goes (Lloyd Daniels, Alexandra Burke, Amelia Lily...). In the role of Joseph, 2009 winner Joe McElderry lavishes what really is a beautiful voice, which maybe we'd forgotten he had, upon the audience and demonstrates an impressive ability to belt – the latter skill most evident in ‘Close Every Door’.

The role of the Narrator must be quite challenging. The character can’t really distract from what is happening on stage. But at the same time she’s telling the story and thus can’t disappear. Lucy Kay finds the balance and also supplies the decent diction the role requires. Emilianos Stamatakis impresses as Pharaoh, his Elvis impersonation communicating the sexiness of Presley; he has moves and tone to go with his pompadour hairdo and lip curl.

‘One More Angel’ possesses a degree of wickedness that I had not realised in the song before. The mock hillbilly accents adopted by the Brothers convey their lack of remorse at selling their brother; one brother miming along to the operatic parts of the number achieves the same thing.

“Seen it”, “Been in it”…we know Joseph. The production currently in Oxford shouldn’t turn you off Lloyd Webber and Rice’s catchy tracks, at the same time it might not install you with a new found love for them; nothing all that new, this version of Joseph does the job.

Joseph tickets can be purchased from the New Theatre box office on George Street, by ringing 0844 871 3020 or by visiting www.atgtickets.com/oxford (phone and internet bookings subject to booking/transaction fee. Calls are charged at 7p per minute, plus your phone company's access charge.).

For bookings of 10 or more, or for Equal Access bookings, please call our dedicated in-house team on 0844 871 3040.

 

Image - © Mark Yeoman

 

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