Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is well known as the school musical, by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, that has grown not only in to a full stage show, but film, singalong version and a casting vehicle for a hit TV show.
When TV took the musical to a new level as the hit Saturday Night Show “Any Dream Will Do” made a star of Lee Mead (who won the title role in the new West End production as his prize) runner up in the finals, Craig Chalmers, joined the touring version as Joseph
On this extensive tour Chalmers is joined by another reality TV finalist as from “I’d Do Anything” Tara Bethan plays the Narrator.
The plot is well known with Joseph telling us the story – mainly through song – of how he has to cope with the jealousy of his eleven other brothers. The brothers think he is their father’s favourite and see his multicoloured coat as a sign of that favouritism. When they plan to get rid of him the brothers sell him as a slave to a group of passing Ishmaelites, who then take him to Egypt. Once there Joseph is imprisoned and is only freed after interpreting one of the Pharaoh’s dreams, and he becomes the leaders’ right hand man.
When his brothers arrive looking for food they fail to recognise their brother who plans to trick them by planting a golden cup in one of their sacks, but we all know that a happy ending is not too far away. Finally we have the now famous “Joseph Megamix” which had most of the audience clapping and singing along as the hits are rolled out.
This production is directed by [Bill Kenwright and he ensures it moves along at a cracking pace with the simple but effective set designed by Sean Cavanagh, lit by Mark Howett. Having seen this production earlier in the tour it when it played a large venue, despite the lack of room on stage, it works much better in the intimate surroundings of the newly refurbished Whitley Bay Playhouse.
The cast are all excellent but Richard J Hunt as Judah especially stood out from the rest of his “on stage brothers” including Joseph. While the music itself is the star of the show, out of the human cast, the production belonged to Tara Bethan, who not only demonstrated why she had reached the finals of a TV talent show with her exceptional voice, but had an excellent stage presence that meant you continually watched her when she was on stage, regardless of her character being central to the action or not. As for Chalmers, while his singing voice cannot be faulted his Joseph does not command the stage.
This is a great production of the musical that will send the audiences away humming those unforgettable melodies and allows Tara Bethan the chance to show she can be worthy musical star.