Bill Kenwright's production of Joseph has been doing the rounds now for years. Recent visits to the region have seen the show looking a little tired and in need of a rest. But this current production it in tip-top shape, thanks to the great vocals of lead Keith Jack and an energetic ensemble.
Made even more popular as a result of the hit TV show - Any Dream Will Do - this hit musical tells the Biblical story of Joseph, his eleven brothers and the coat of many colours. To be honest, the plot is purely perfunctory as audiences come to hear those songsand to laugh along at the comic antics of Joe and his bros and to see ADWD runner up Jack.
And he delivers vocally as he brings genuine emotion to "Close Every Door" which shows off his beautiful voice. Jack also knows when to hold back and when to deliver the killer high notes. He brings more charisma than his counterpart Craig Chalmers, although, at times his acting is a bit wooden but he is not helped by the role as it's very underwritten anyway. Joseph has always been more about the brothers, for me.
As Narrator - Jennifer Potts is completely engaging, although a few sound issues in the first half means that she is drowned out by the talented ensemble, including some very talented children from Stagecoach Theatre School in Chester, who are delightful throughout.
The talented supporting cast and ensemble lift the show, as their voices are in fine fettle and they use every part of the stage to tell this evergreen, light and very funny tale. Henry Metcalfe is warm and witty as Jacob/Potiphar and Kevin Grogan would make a fine Joseph, as he gives Benjamin far more than is on the page. All of the brothers are excellent though - displaying terriffic teamwork throughout the performance.
Henry Metcalfe is also the show's choreographer and he manages to incorporate many different styles of dance into the piece successfully and the cast rise to the challenge with aplomb.Sean Cavanagh's set design is basic but does the job well.
Bill Kenwright ensures the show has pace, and that it does not outstay it's welcome. The megamix at the close has always been an excuse to get the audience on their feet for a forced standing ovation, but when a show is as fun as this one, who cares?