Superb singing and toe-tappingly good fun

Hannah Richardson reviews Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

Wednesday, 29th June 2016, 4:18 pm
Updated Wednesday, 29th June 2016, 5:23 pm
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

It’s always a good sign, I feel, when you go to see a musical and then find yourself singing songs from the show non-stop all the way home.

Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, which is on tour at Milton Keynes Theatre until Saturday night, certainly ticked that box for me.

After a mixed bag of musicals at MK so far this year, what a joy to hear some first-rate singing, with not a duff note in sight.

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Joe McElderry and Henry Metcalfe in Joseph

Pop idol Joe McElderry, who came to fame on X Factor, stars as Joseph – and boy, can he sing!

Just 24 years old, he has a simply enormous voice, and he used it to full advantage, belting out the big numbers but controlling it admirably for the quieter, more emotional moments in Close Every Door and Any Dream Will Do.

Joe’s vocal strength was ably matched by 26-year-old Britain’s Got Talent runner-up Lucy Kay, in the demanding role of Narrator.

Both of them had the power to completely fill the auditorium. In fact, there were a few moments when I felt Lucy needed her mic turning down a notch.

Joe McElderry and Henry Metcalfe in Joseph

They were ably supported by a cheery ensemble of 11 Brothers of all shapes and sizes, who danced and sang with gusto, and three Handmaidens.

Not to mention a confident and very capable performance by the children’s chorus from Myra Tiffin performing Arts School with Thornton College

There was a lot to like about Bill Kenwright’s production of Joseph.

It was loud, lively and fun, and I especially enjoyed Henry Metcalfe’s dignified performance as Jacob.

Less enjoyable for me was Emilianos Stamatakis’ Elvis impersonation as Pharaoh. Although his voice was good, I couldn’t hear the words of his songs Pharaoh’s Story and King of my Heart at all, due to his Elvis-style mumbling.

Pharaoh’s Story is the first of several strangely out-of-place cameo songs in different styles in Act Two. Those Canaan Days is performed in the style of Maurice Chevalier, complete with a cycling onion seller and an Eiffel Tower as backdrop.

Later on, everyone dons frilly sleeves for the Benjamin Calypso, a catchy, upbeat number ably fronted by Marcus Ayton as Issacher, but the song’s cheeriness is oddly out of place considering Issacher is actually pleading for his brother’s life.

But let’s not gripe. High art it isn’t, but a fabulously feelgood show it is, full of great singing and toe-tapping tunes.

By the end of the extended and well-rehearsed encore, I was up and bopping along with many others, while Joseph’s Brothers danced alongside us in the aisles.

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