Tuesday, July 5

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat – Opera House, Manchester

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s first staged musical ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat’ arrives in Manchester. The iconic duo of Lloyd-Webber and Tim Rice wrote this much-loved production back in 1986 as a school play… little did they know the sensation it would become.

The brand-new production is a modern take on a timely classic: it is exactly the star-studded, colourful spectacle you want and expect. Alexandra Burke takes on the leading role of The Narrator, young talent Jac Yarrow takes the title role of Joseph and Jason Donavan returns to the show he once conquered, now as the heartthrob, Elvis-styled Pharaoh.

Any musical theatre fan – if not, everyone in the UK – knows the music from this work of art, featuring songs such as Any Dream Will Do, emotional ballad Close Every Door To Me, There’s One More Angel In Heaven and the ultimate toe-tapper Go, Go, Go Joseph. The musical takes audiences on a voyage through music genres; country, reggae, rock’n’roll, pop, you name it, it’s in there.

Alexandra Burke takes on the demanding role with a spring in her step and a bun in the oven. Currently in her third trimester, the audience watch in awe as she takes on the demanding role with ease. Following rather underwhelming vocals in the first act, Burke does produce the powerhouse voice she’s known for in the second act whilst keeping energy high with her impressive dance skills. She takes on multiple forms throughout, from the hunched father Jacob to the raunchy Potiphar’s wife, Alexandra transforms effortlessly, commanding the stage and interacting with cast naturally. A great casting for a challenging and diverse role.

Jac Yarrow is a star. His rendition of the standout ballad Close Every Door brings chills as he combines his soft tones and high belting riffs to bring the song to crescendo. His tone and vocal gymnastics give a modern twist to a musical theatre masterpiece. He brings charm, likeability, and depth to the role as he follows in the footsteps of some big names…

©Tristram Kenton

Jason Donovan makes a triumphant return to the musical he once broke records in as the title role in the early 90s. This time taking on the iconic role of Pharaoh…. and he’s still got it. His stage presence is second to none, entering as the king of Egypt, but leaving as the king of rock’n’roll. He’s immediately amiable, arriving to a roar of applause and despite his short time on stage, he leaves a lasting impression of delight throughout the second act.

The brothers are brilliant, highly entertaining and all round talented. With a mixture of adults and children playing Jacob’s sons they bring non-stop laughter, particularly in audience favourite, French style song Those Canaan Days – not to be mistaken for can-can… (just an inside joke you’ll understand when you watch the show…). The choreography by Joann M. Hunter is clever and challenging, with a mixture of styles to enrich the many varieties of music.

As expected, children play a huge part in this production, and the sheer talent from them is astounding. Many children multirole to bring added humour to adult roles and hold their own alongside a massively talented cast. They are an absolute delight to watch.

The costume and staging is a colourful spectacle; although simple at times, it is always effective. The staging absolutely beams colour and combined with the big band numbers, particularly in the first few bars, it also brings a tear to your eyes from the sheer wonder of it all in combination.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat is the pinnacle of musical theatre – just absolute sheer joy to watch. Pure escapism combined with a talented cast and a score that’s arguably one of the best from the famous duo Rice and Webber.

Go go go down to the Opera House, Manchester where you can still catch Joseph and his Technicolour Dreamcoat until Saturday 2nd April. https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/joseph-and-the-amazing-technicolor-dreamcoat/opera-house-manchester/  

Reviewer: Alison Ruck

Reviewed: 29th March 2022

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★