Reviewed by Garry McWilliams
This was my third trip to watch ‘Joseph’, however, it’s the first time I have had the pleasure of seeing Keith Jack take the lead role that he entered BBC competition ‘Any Dream Will Do’ to try and win. For those of you who remember the competition, Keith was runner up to Lee Mead – but the performance he gave on Wednesday night was certainly a winning one. It was evident that he was delighting the hoards of fans in the house, especially when he sang ‘Any Dream Will Do’.
The musical is based on the biblical story of Joseph, found in the book of Genesis. Joseph is one of twelve sons fathered by Jacob and he is his father’s favourite, much to the irritation of the brothers. Indeed Joseph’s brothers become envious of the coat of many colours which Jacob has specially made for his favourite son. However, it is Joseph’s dreams and their predictions that lead the brothers to concoct a plan to dispose of him and they ultimately sell him as a slave, telling their devastated father that Joseph has been killed.
The set was dominated by the staircases which ran down the length of each side of the stage, the chorus (played by extremely enthusiastic children) were seated on them. The children were all in fine voice and contributed wonderfully, I saw many a proud parent in the audience cheering them on. Also part of the simple yet effective and eye-catching set were sheep – that were unfolded by the cast and sprung up in an exceedingly comical fashion!
Lauren Ingram put in a first class performance as the Narrator which is a relentless role and in my opinion, a key element in the show. Ingram’s credits in the programme were not particularly exhaustive, therefore I was interested to see how she handled the part as the indication was that she was relatively inexperienced. Our seats were in the rear stalls and we heard every word that she sang, her diction was perfect and she also demonstrated excellent characterisation.
The actors who performed as the brothers were a talented ensemble and entertained throughout, especially during the number ‘There’s One More Angel in Heaven’. Danielle Acors also deserves a mention for technical ability in her dance routine as Mrs Potiphar (who attempts to seduce Joseph). Act one came to a close with the two well-known numbers ‘Close Every Door’ upon which Jack put his own stamp and ‘Go Go Go Joseph’ which was uplifting and rounded off the act on a high.
Luke Jasztal certainly dominated the stage as the Pharaoh, a superb Elvis impersonator – he started off act two with ‘Pharaoh’s Story’ and most of the audience appeared to be participating in a hand-jive. It’s a toe-tapping, sing-along production with a happy ending and a finale that puts many other musicals to shame. Joseph’s coat is a sight to behold and the cast do a good job of helping with the effect.
Go to the website http://www.josephthemusical.com for tour dates and information to book tickets.
First published 04.03.13