THE last time Joseph swished into town flapping his Technicolor Dreamcoat, our very own Keith Jack was its only saving grace.
The world’s longest-running touring musical had been struggling to maintain its kaleidoscopic vibrancy and it looked as if Andrew Lloyd Webber and Time Rice’s pop oratorio had finally been drained of its colour. However, thanks to the production skills of Bill Kenwright, Joseph’s jacket is brighter, livelier and more entertaining than ever before.
For a start, the cast are fresh and invigorated. No end-of-tour fatigue here. The stage set has benefited from added investment as well, and there are new creative ideas and more stage time for the Pharaoh, aka Elvis. Former EastEnder Matt Lapinskas) adds extra pelvis-gyrating rock to the role.
Based on the ‘coat of many colours’ from the Book of Genesis, Dreamcoat tells the tale of Joseph, the twelfth son of Jacob. After telling his brothers that visions of a colourful coat will bring his siblings to bow before him, they sell Joseph off as a slave.
Despite the biblical theme, however, the most notable thing about Webber and Rice’s first-ever musical is the juxtaposition of styles and genres.
From country-singing cowboys of the Wild West to the Charleston of the 1920s, from French accordion-led ballads to Las Vegas-era Elvis - even Egyptian God, Anubis (suited up as an American footballer), gets a groove on with the cheerleaders.
Taking over Keith Jack’s wardrobe, 2009 X-Factor finalist, Lloyd Daniels, impresses. Showing no sign of nerves, he coasts through the show, all blond hair, shiny teeth (any beam will do), and ready to take on the universe.
Making her stage debut, Amelia Lily, another X Factor recruit, gives the impression she has been performing the Narrator role for years.
When Joseph last showed up at the Playhouse, his Dreamcoat was many shades of grey. Now you need sunglasses to look at it.
Run ends Saturday