Charming and Energetic: ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat’ Review

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Image Credit: Epstein Theatre Liverpool

★★★★✰

It is difficult to leave a production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat without a smile on your face, but the Bentley Operatic Society make it almost impossible to. Bounding through all the familiar favourite Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice musical numbers, the huge cast and ensemble are a true force to be reckoned with. As one of the last productions to be filling the Epstein Theatre in Liverpool before its untimely closure at the end of June, Joseph, directed by Michael Pearson, is a delight for all involved.

Initially, it feels like a slow burner- the stage is empty, the set is minimal and the onstage band open up with what feels like a lengthy medley. But as they warm up, the Bentley Operatic Society bring a kaleidoscope of colour and fizzing energy to the stage. The songs are as we recognise, know and love, and are performed by a chorus of all ages with incredible talent. Showcasing the pastiche and sheer range of musical genres that Andrew Lloyd Webber first sprinkled throughout Joseph, the cast match each style with fervour. From the cheeky to the over-dramatic, alongside the big ballad numbers—not a beat is missed.

If at times the sounds of some individuals are lost among the melee, it is more than made up for as the power of the chorus in full harmony reverberates throughout the Epstein. Belting out some of the heavier ballads, Elliot Tutt threatens to take us into goosebump territory as he takes on the Biblical sincerity of Joseph. Tutt’s earnest and wholehearted Joseph is complimented well by the perpetual grinning and winking of the three narrators (Kizzy Leigh, Sarah Mullis and Sally Allcock), each as incredible as the other and holding their own in a role shared three ways.

The set is simplistic, with the colourful outfits and sequinned wardrobe of the cast filling the stage with more than enough to look at without being distracted by anything else. The lack of over-complication allows the focus to be drawn to the lively choreography (by Karl Newsam), pitch-perfect vocals and the fun of the music.

With the occasional microphone fault comes the occasional off-key note, but aside from a few wobbly vocals the cast and choir are strong. They perform hit after hit with conviction in all its fun-filled fanfare that makes Joseph the gem of a musical it is. There is just the right amount of cheese, a heavy dose of camp and enough of a spark to have everyone singing along emphatically at the end.

From the get-go the audience are enthralled, no-one is taking themselves too seriously and the good-natured charm of the performance radiates throughout the Epstein Theatre. There’s a reason that Joseph does the rounds, and the Bentley Operatic Society have done it justice and more.

Words by Hannah Goldswain

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