Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat was the first musical I ever saw as a child and it holds a special place in my heart. So you can imagine my excitement when my 8 year old and I were invited along to the Lyceum Theatre in Crewe to review its current tour, making it his first ever musical too! I certainly had high expectations for this show. Was it going to be as good as I remember or were my childhood memories going to be ruined? Was Union J‘s Jaymi Hensley going to be as good as Phillip Schofield or Jason Donovan? Was my 8 year old going to enjoy it as much as I did? Thankfully, the answer to all those questions was “Yes” and my son and I had an absolutely fabulous time!
We were invited by Crewe Lyceum Theatre and gifted 2 tickets for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are honest and our own.
Originally written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice for school performances, Joseph is definitely a family-friendly musical and perfect for introducing children to Musical Theatre. It is now over 50 years since its original conception and it has become one of the best-known and best-loved musicals, winning multiple awards and delighting audiences all over the world.
For those unfamiliar with the plot of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, the show takes place “way way back many centuries ago,” telling the Bible story of Joseph, the favourite son of Jacob. Joseph ends up being sold into slavery by his brothers who are jealous of the multicoloured coat that their father gave him and annoyed by the fact that Joseph is constantly telling them of his dreams which tell him that he is going to be powerful and rule over them. We are taken from Canaan in Israel to Ancient Egypt (with stop-offs in the American Wild West, a 1920s jazz club, an Elvis Presley concert, Paris and the Carribbean along the way!) where Joseph eventually rises through adversity to become the Pharoah’s right-hand man.
I absolutely adored the show as a child (and can still remember all of the lyrics!) but had forgotten just how much fun it is. The production is vibrant, fast-paced, energetic and, at times, hilarious and the cast of the current tour work with exhausting enthusiasm to bring every element of the show to life. The audience were whole-heartedly enthralled from beginning to end of the technicolor spectacle! I must admit, I was apprehensive about the casting of Union J‘s Jaymi Hensley as I didn’t know much about him other than he had been a finalist on the X-Factor. However, I had nothing to worry about – he gave a fabulous performance and his rendition of “Close Every Door” was superb – possibly the best I’ve ever seen. (And trust me, as a Drama teacher, examiner and adjudicator I’ve seen many!)
The Crewe Lyceum Theatre provided the perfect setting. It is relatively small and intimate, meaning that every audience member feels close to the action and part of the story. I really do hope that they bring more family-friendly shows to this lovely venue. We had a fabulous evening watching Joseph and it seems that everyone else in the packed-out auditorium did too as the audience were up dancing, clapping and singing along throughout the final Megamix and the standing ovation at the end was most certainly well-deserved!
You can catch Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat at the Crewe Lyceum Theatre until 21st September – my son and I definitely recommend it. Get your tickets here.
For information about the tour see here.