I read a review of the new production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat that’s running at the London Palladium. The reviewer classed it with The Bridge Theatre’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and said they were both delightful must-sees. Having seen Midsummer the week before and unable to agree more, I bought a ticket for Joseph and hoped for the best.
I was not disappointed! It was my first time seeing it performed, but I had all the lyrics memorised from the Donny Osmond cast recording from the early 1990s, so I knew roughly what to expect. And I loved it. Sheridan Smith as the narrator brought impish energy to the storytelling and played many of the secondary roles that I think were played by others in previous productions (Jacob, Potiphar’s wife, etc.). Pharaoh was played by Jason Donovan who based on the level of applause is a big deal and played Joseph around the same time Donny did (having since done the requisite Googling and listened to his recording I can say I’m still partial to Donny, though the 23-yr-old Donovan did wear a loin cloth mighty well). And the Joseph in this cast was Jac Yarrow, a 21-yr-old newcomer, fresh from drama school, who was making his professional debut. He was completely adorable and terrific in the part.
I don’t think they did anything revolutionary with this production. Mostly they just got so much of it exactly right–it’s what the show needed to be: simple storytelling, not at all serious, and full of all those addictive Andrew Lloyd Weber / Tim Rice songs. I basically just sat and grinned the entire time.