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Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

Date

24th October 2018

Society

Berwick-upon-Tweed Amateur Operatic Society

Venue

The Maltings, Berwick

Type of Production

Musical

Director

Lisa Summers & Laura Catterall

Choreographer

Sheila Bradford

Report

Author: Kathryn Curry

Berwick Opera has always welcomed youngsters into their productions but this year was a first for them when they launched a full ‘Youth Group Production’ with over 50 enthusiastic children on stage. You cannot fail with a production of ‘Joseph’ and these youngsters raised the bar with outstanding performances. With music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice the storyline of ‘Joseph’ is family friendly and we were treated to an excellent, bright happy show from these talented youngsters. The simple set with authentic projections and good lighting worked very well indeed with the number of performers on stage all working hard with excellent entrances and exits to accommodate the smooth running of the show when changing from scene to scene. Costumes were simple but authentic and added to the visual impact of the production.  In particular the Sha-la-la-Sheep were delightful, cute and very funny. There was lots of energy on stage and all the musical numbers were accompanied by backing tracks.

I would love to name everyone who took part in this production but that would be impossible with numbers of children involved, however, suffice to say the lead performers were extremely well supported by the rest of the ensembles in the cast who gave worthy performances, singing with gusto and enthusiasm and obviously thoroughly enjoying themselves. The minor named roles were really well performed by all who played them.

The production was sensibly arranged in good grouping of performers using the stage extremely well when the whole cast were performing; this must have been no mean feat to direct!

In the central lead of ‘Joseph’, Morgan Flannigan gave an outstanding performance highlighting his excellent stage presence, acting, singing and dance movement.  His vocals in ‘Close Every Door to Me’ were first class and it was obvious the audience were moved by his poignant rendition of the song.  He was ably supported by the ‘Brothers’ and their ‘Wives’ lead by the eldest brother ‘Ruben’ played by the very talented Corey Learmonth who danced and sang with his usual flair and enthusiasm. This whole ensemble was lovely and their enthusiasm was superb. The brothers were well disciplined and all gave stalwart performances.

I have only ever seen this show with one narrator, so was interested to see how it would work with a group sharing the role. It worked extremely well and ‘Lead Narrators’ Eilidh Campbell, Alice Heald, Mhairi McLeman, Evie Ryan and Susie Ward showed outstanding diction and they all had beautiful voices, in particular  I enjoyed solos from Eiligh and Susie as well as lovely harmonies from the whole group.  The ‘Lead Narrators’ were backed by a team of secondary narrators who complimented the main group.

Special mention must go to Kate Harwood playing Potiphar’s wife and Dahilia.  This role was extremely well cast and she is indeed a very talented dancer for one so young.

I have to commend Matty Forster for his portrayal of ‘Pharaoh’ and his amazing and outstanding impersonation of ‘Elvis’,  it was indeed a highlight of the show and I was so pleased to see Matty have a gritty  part of his own. He was hilarious but had obviously worked extremely hard, paying attention to detail to make this part his own. I see a very bright future for Matty in character roles.

A hugely successful show for a first full youth production; much appreciated by the audience with obviously lots of family and friends supporting their young actors.  Congratulations to the whole cast and Berwick Opera for a superb evening of entertainment; wonder what the next one will be, we certainly will all look forward to seeing it.