Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

Date 11th October 2018
Society Beaconsfield Operatic Society
Venue Phoenix Theatre Blyth
Type of Production Musical
Director Lesley-Anne Crawford & Christopher Carr
Musical Director Susan Sabourn
Choreographer Laura Batey

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Author: Gordon Richardson

‘Joseph’ has been the staple diet of schools and youth societies for many years but in its 50th year it has been released to be performed by adult performers and Beaconsfield had the privilege of being the premiere in NODA North. Trevor Harder had suggested the society could do it justice and was due to direct it. However, after his sudden and untimely death at the start of the year the old adage of ‘the show must go on’ was fulfilled by everyone pulling together.

In the venue of a packed Phoenix theatre the society not only fulfilled Trevor’s dream but hopefully exceeded it under the new directorial team of Lesley-Anne and Christopher. For this adult version the children fulfilled the role of an ever-present choir dressed colourfully in Tee shirts

Using a simple but effective set the ‘magic’ was provided by the atmospheric as well as colourful lighting, emphasised by the superb costumes and wigs totally appropriate to the spectacle with each and everyone on stage heard through the crisp sound.

All the brothers looked and acted their roles well and were not a nice bunch of siblings to have around as Joseph found out when sold to passing Israelite’s. The brothers’ harmonies, dancing and acting were excellent throughout but in particular in ‘One more Angel’, ‘Canaan Days’ and ‘Benjamin Calypso’ with solos by Graeme Sutherland (Reuben), Michael Brown (Simeon) and Carl Luke (Judah) respectively. The role of Jacob their father was empathetically and emotionally played by Peter Boyd.

Smaller roles of The Butler and Baker, Angel, Mr and Mrs Potphar were fulfilled by Adam Swallwell, Alex Crawford, Chelle Milne, Michael Douglas and Ailsa Standring with each performer wringing out every moment of their time on stage each with their own particular twist to the well-known production.

Taking on the role of ‘Pharaoh’ was Stuart Stocks who thrilled the audience, and it seemed the ladies of the cast, with his extravagant OTT actions mixed with great humour. It was an absolute pleasure to watch as he milked every last ‘Er-huh’.

Finally, onto two characters around which the show radiates – Joseph and the Narrator played respectively by Liam Olsen and Kathryn Sabourn. What can I say but simply WOW! Both had rich voices that shone through and the emotional wherewithal to pull off the constantly changing dynamics of the production.

A mention also to ensemble and crew who added so much to the spirit of the show – The adult version differed from the youth version with added choreography (well done Laura), mega-mixes and the richness of the mature voices made it an altogether different experience. The music although the same as the youth version was able to be tweaked in terms of tempo leading to a much more immersive (and at times almost sinister) experience. Well done to MD Susan and her superb orchestra hidden away elsewhere in the theatre, it was an absolute treat to hear.

Congratulations to the directorial team, crew, technical and cast for fetching this production to the North for the first time – it was worth the wait and I’m sure you did Trevor proud…