Live reviews

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat
or Robbie and the other guys from Take That – De Montfort Hall, Leicester

Of the shows myself and 'the wife' have been to of late, this was the one where although anticipation had been shown, no leaning one way or another could be drawn and yet this was to be an evening's entertainment that would draw the greatest talking point.

34 Years ago, the now 'cash-point' pairing
of Lloyd-Webber and Rice, then relative unknowns in the World of the stage had been collaborating together for two years and it was a project on a vaguely religious subject, requiring only 15 minutes of music that was to change their fate forever and possibly 'musical dictation' in the process.

The Challenge

The team had given themselves the challenge of relaying narrative without dialogue and therefore telling the bible story chosen, entirely through lyrics, aided by music offered up by Lloyd-Webber's eclectic musical taste.

So it is here that we arrive, a hugely popular musical that exceeds in age many of the audience gathered here this evening, and indeed those performing. Whilst set over 3,000 years ago, the production echoes the time at which it came into existence, that of the swinging sixties. So what was my first impression as the cast took to the stage in the opening number, 'Jacob and Sons', this was the 'Rainbow' team, headed by Mr. Chuffy, the character from the comedy show 'Armstrong and Miller', all that was missing was his big hat and the naked vets. But as we proceeded into the production, further thoughts of naff-ness were banished and I began 'reading' the story presented in front of me, just as the writers had intended, through lyrics and musical presentation of the musical that seems to go on and on. In fact my first encounter with 'Jacob and Sons' had occurred, age six, around-a-bout the time of another musical uprising and out spoken pouring.

Now at probably the same age as when my parents first took me to see Maynard Williams and a suitably psychedelic production of the same musical, how did it stand up? Well judging by the programme I still have today, time has perhaps not been so gracious toward Joseph and his hote-couture. In our present climate of wide screen telly, digital sound and special effects, I did feel that so much more could've been put into this production. The costumes and set could have been 'bigger', certainly the sound might have been given that touch of sparkle and the stage seemed so much smaller. That said the comedy was put into numbers well, and the pink feather duster included in the Noel Coward production piece was a nice touch.

Although the 'Mrs.' went away a 'happy bunny', I couldn't help thinking "well ok, but give me Gladiator any day". Better luck next time.

Nick James


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