Keith Jack's Joseph has a pleasant, powerful singing voice and a likeable manner, but it is his acting that impresses most; capturing both the arrogant priggishness that incites his brothers' wrath, and a touching emotional depth in his heartfelt rendition of 'Close Every Door', and the surprisingly poignant reunion with his long-lost father.
Lauren Ingram is a dynamic, earnest Narrator, whose clear, secure voice and warm presence drives the show, and the ensemble of brothers and handmaidens never let this energy drop. A number of performers stand out from the crowd, notably Marcus Ayton (Dan), in what is, remarkably, his first professional role. With a vigour and vibrancy that draw the eye and a strong, rich voice, used to full effect in his solos during the 'Benjamin Calypso', he is surely one to watch. Likewise, Jennie Abbotts is particularly engaging in her roles within the female chorus.
But the real magic of Joseph is its success in marrying the glamour of the West End Musical with the naivety of the school play. The greatest round of applause of the night is for a chorus sung by the choir of bright, engaged children, here provided by Stagecoach Sheffield and Chesterfield. There are some great inflatable sheep; that some fail to inflate does not diminish their charm. All this evokes the essence of the folk musical; this really is a show that can appeal equally to small children and their grandparents, but still carries just enough wit in Tim Rice's clever lyrics to appease the more cynical viewer.
Joseph runs at the Lyceum, Sheffield until 24 November.