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Review Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

Alexandra Burke Jac Yarrow and Ensemble Joseph The London Palladium 2021 Photo Credit Tristram Kenton
2 Apr 2022

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat has arrived in Manchester and we went along to check it out. 

A sensational brand-new production of one of the world’s favourite musicals, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, is now playing at Manchester Opera House. We sent along our On The Go reviewer Sean and you can discover what he thought here. 

Review Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

If you’re new to the phenomenon that is Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, here it is in a nutshell: Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s musical comedy telling the biblical story of Joseph, son of Jacob, and his coat of many colours. 

Joseph is the shining light of his family; his father’s favourite. And all this love and attention creates a lot of tension among Joseph’s 11 brothers. But it’s when his father gives him a magnificent, technicolour coat (“it was red and yellow and orange and green…”) it pushes the jealous brothers over the edge. They hatch a plan to sell Joseph to some passing traders who promptly take him back to Egypt where he begins life as a slave. 

Even if you don’t know the story of Joseph, you’ll have heard some of his songs. The most famous is ‘Any Dream Will Do’, which a certain Jason Donovan – more on him later – had a number one single with back in 1994.

It has the audience singing along from the beginning of the show. There are also loads of great sing-along numbers like ‘Go, Go, Go Joseph’, ‘Those Canaan Days’ and ‘Joseph’s Coat’ as well as the emotional conclusion to Act 1, ‘Close Every Door’. 

The title role of Joseph is played by Jac Yarrow, who left drama school early to take on the part. He has big shoes to fill as, over the years, the role has often gone to more established performers, such as Donny Osmond and Philip Schofield. But Jac, who was Olivier-nominated during the show’s original London run in 2020 is phenomenally good, milking Joseph’s arrogance for comic effect and adding real heart to his emotional solos.

Jac Yarrow Joseph and the company of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat Photographer Tristram Kenton1

There’s a particular pressure that Jac is under when your co-star has previously played the role. Jason Donavan returns to the show, this time in the role of Pharaoh. The audience loves him and he got the biggest laughs of the night for his camp, exaggerated Elvis-themed Pharaoh.

You do have to wait around for him to show up though as he doesn’t appear until the start of Act 2. But enough about the boys, for me, this production of Joseph was all about one girl.

Alexandra Burke Joseph The London Palladium 2021 Photo Credit Tristram Kenton

Alexandra Burke may be most famous for winning The X Factor in 2008 but she’s subsequently carved out a successful musical theatre career in the intervening years. She’s played leading roles in The Bodyguard, Sister Act, Chess and Chicago. Her experience serves her well as she has a lot to do in Joseph. 

Alexandra’s Narrator follows the tradition of having a woman play the part. The role has recently been played by Sheridan Smith and Preeya Kalidas in London runs.

In this production, Alexandra is barely off-stage, leading the audience from the beginning with perfect comic timing, excellent dancing and her incredible singing voice. And as if that wasn’t enough, she’s doing it all whilst she’s 6 months pregnant. 

Jason Donovan company in JATATD Credit Tristram Kenton

The show was the first collaboration between Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, back in 1968. But this production feels fresh and the songs really stand the test of time. It’s great to see Joseph devotees joining in with familiar songs at the same time as seeing new fans falling in love with the show for the first time. 

At a run time of around 2 hours, the show is perfect for families. There’s also a cast of children adding hilarity in comedy beards and traditional costumes that make the show feel like a Nativity on acid.

The kids in the audience loved it, with a story that’s easy to follow and songs that will lodge in your brain after one chorus. There are some great set pieces involving camels chariots, giant pharaohs and a technicolour set.

Joseph at Manchester Opera House is one not to miss. 

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat will be at Manchester Opera House until 2nd April and tickets are available here. 

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