Thursday, September 28

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat – Epstein Theatre

There’s a bittersweet note to tonight’s performance, in the beautiful surroundings of the Epstein, knowing that the theatre will shortly be shuttering its doors permanently having failed to secure vital funding. Indeed, Bentley Operatic Society has performed here for around 100 years and, like our titular character, are therefore about to find themselves in temporary exile whilst they find a new home.

Based on tonight’s performance of Joseph though, any theatre will be lucky to have them. The society have recently moved away from their previous offerings of Gilbert & Sullivan and other operettas to include mainstream musical theatre shows, and in Joseph they have found a one that plays perfectly to their strengths.

Despite its exotic ancient Egyptian setting, Joseph – based on the biblical tale of a boy who is sold into slavery by his jealous brothers only to find favour with the Pharoah when he is able to interpret his dreams – is not a show that requires complex sets or heaps of special effects.

Director Michael Pearson has embraced this well, with simple, tiered staging that allows the large ensemble to fill the space without ever feeling overcrowded, especially with the excellent band under the award-winning baton of Musical Director Wendy Tucker, sharing the stage. Add in a mix of brightly coloured ethnic and modern costumes the result is a vibrant show, full of life and energy.

As a sung-through musical, the success of Joseph requires the casting of actors with powerhouse singing chops and Bentley seems spoiled for choice. Elliot Tutt takes on the famous coat and packs his heart and soul into his songs, getting the perfect balance of light and shade in the iconic numbers ‘Joseph’s Coat’ and ‘Close Every Door’.

He’s ably backed by three superb Narrators, Kizzy Leigh, Sarah Mullis, Sally Allcock who blend together beautifully, whilst their distinctive individual vocals shine in solo sections.

Jacob and the brothers are sensational, gelling as a group magnificently, making their scenes and songs immense fun to watch. Similarly, Omar Hussein nearly brings the roof off the building with a hilarious, hip-swinging turn as the Pharoah.

Very occasionally there is so much happening onstage we lose the clarity of the principal vocals as they mix into the ensembles. But that’s the only minor thing in a near flawless account that Lloyd-Webber himself would be proud of.

By the time we reach a mega-mix finale even the ushers are singing along and it’s a cold-hearted soul who can resist the urge to join in. Tonight has been pure joy on stage, with not a single weak link in an ensemble that looks like they’re having the time of their lives.

And as Joseph’s coat fans out, peacock-style to fill the stage with colour, it is a wonderful send off for a theatre that has served the society well. If future shows are of this standard, this is a group who, once they find their new home, will be a ‘must not miss’ fixture for diaries.

For more info and for remaining Epstein shows, visit

Reviewer: Lou Steggals

Reviewed: 14th June 2023

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.