Joseph& the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

Date 14th June 2023
Society Bentley Operatic Society
Venue The Epstein Theatre
Type of Production Musical
Director Michael Pearson
Musical Director Wendy Tucker
Choreographer Karl Newsam
Producer Michael Pearson
Written By Andrew Lloyd Webber & Tim Rice

Report

Author: Joanne Rymer

Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

The Bentley Operatic Society

14th June 2023

 

I was absolutely thrilled to be invited by Bentley to their production of ‘Joseph' one of my favourite musicals. It’s devastating that Bentley will be one of the last groups to perform at The Epstein Theatre, as it will, unfortunately, be closing at the end of this month. Bentley did not flinch in their quest to make us all leave humming the tunes with huge smiles on our faces, this was a production to remember, and it was.

Arguably the world's favourite and most performed musical, it is difficult to believe that its creators, Andrew Lloyd-Webber and Tim Rice first wrote the original score over 50 years ago! Yes, it has gone through several rewrites with songs added or taken away, and each time it goes on tour, more contemporary references are added, but its bouncy pop score, simple to follow narrative, and silly lyrics make it a firm favourite with musical theatre fans.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat tells us of the journey of Joseph, son of Jacob, one of twelve sons, and his coat of many colours. Based on the Bible’s book of Genesis, the musical is based on the biblical story of Joseph, the favourite son of Jacob, who was sold into slavery by his jealous brothers, but eventually rose to power in Egypt.

The second the cast took to the stage and the narrator tells us Josephs journey, the full company belted out the fantastic ‘Any Dream will do’, we knew we were in for a special evening, we were not disappointed.  Kizzy Leigh played the role of Narrator One her vocal range was outstanding and her perfect delivery bringing the story to life we were all hooked. The production has three narrators (Kizzy Leigh. Sarah Mullis. Sally Allcock) showcasing Joseph’s life in song all three did an incredible job of drawing us into the story.  Kizzy’s performance was certainly a highlight opening the show with such enthusiasm, great vocals and a strong stage presence.

Director Michael Pearson is to be commended he obviously had a clear vision for this production, inspired casting, talented production team, inspired set. Every aspect was delivered with humour and fun.

Costumes (Charades, St. Helens + the company) were excellent to a man, and the choreography (Karl Newsam) was in a word; perfect. It was ability appropriate, correct genre, upbeat with good use of space; as well as making some lovely 'picture' endings. The set was simple yet spectacular, a series of stepped rostra formed a triangle, it worked really well. The band are permanently on stage placed on either side on stage.  There is nothing like live music, the band sounded fantastic and having such a sizable band playing live makes an enormous difference to the quality of the piece. Musical Director Wendy Tucker together with Tom, Mike, Erin, Paul, Neil, Corey, Marino and Lizzie were amazing.

Elliott Tuft’s Joseph is extremely likeable and he quite literally blows the roof off the theatre vocally. The second he ended a number the audience would erupt and rightly so, we were witnessing not only a majestic Elliot but a cast of individuals putting on a performance far higher than the level one might expect from amateur theatre. It’s a performance that is unequalled by many Josephs I’ve ever seen., you will be hard pressed to hear a better Joseph anywhere. Congratulations, Elliott.

The supporting cast is equally important and includes a range of colourful characters such as the Pharaoh (Omar Hussen), who was hysterical, impersonating Elvis to perfection, the audience loved him. Omar clearly knows how to whip the audience into a frenzy and it’s evident he is enjoying every moment of his on-stage time. Butler (Aaron Baker) and Baker (Pritish Nathubhai) two fine comedic performances.  The Potiphar’s (Neil Henderson and Helen Johnson) made the most of their stage time, her failed seduction of Joseph, then thrown into jail by the jealous husband; both gave fine performances.  Jacob (Jim Craig) father to twelve sons head of the family, solid performance from an experienced character actor.  Joseph’s brothers are an eclectic lot, all eleven of them: Bernadette O’Keefe, Jake McGinn, Lynsey Corner, Taylor Anne Henwood, Taylor Spruce, Michael Silverman, Alice McCormack, Ellie Parker, Roby Hawes, Glen Feeney and Shane Bear. They each shine in certain moments of the show but as a group they are just sensational.

The music is catchy, upbeat, and infectious, with a blend of musical styles that ranges from rock and roll to country to reggae. The songs are memorable and instantly recognizable, with some of the most popular numbers including “Any Dream Will Do,” “Close Every Door,” and “Go, Go, Go Joseph.”

There is nothing better than live music, the band sounded fantastic and having such a sizable band playing live makes an enormous difference to the quality of the piece. Musical Director Wendy Tucker, Tom, Mike, Erin, Paul, Neil, Corey, Marino and Lizzie thank you for your musical expertise.

The ensemble is crucial to the success of the production, as they bring energy and vitality to the complex harmonies and dynamic vocal performances required by the score. Praise to the amazing dancers, Bethan, Bhavna, George, Rachel, Emily, Katie and Bethany for the numerous dance numbers, pulling all the pieces of the story together and they do so with buckets of charisma.

Joseph really is the ultimate feel-good musical, as the entire company came onto the stage for one final number, or rather a mini concert Megamix the audience erupted, on their feet singing and dancing. Congratulations Bentley on an exceptional performance indeed. On leaving The Epstein for maybe the last time we all felt we had seen something very special.

Thank you so much for inviting me, it was a wonderful entertaining evening. I hope to see you all again soon

Joanne Rymer

NODA..District 4