A feel-good, bright, and cheesy night of fun, Bill Kenwright’s 2019 revival of this Andrew Lloyd Webber classic is a treat for all ages and tastes. Sold into slavery for annoying his brothers with prophetic dreams, the story chronicles the life of Joseph, son of Jacob, as he rises through the ranks of Egypt’s monarchy. With surprising accuracy to the Bible story, this musical pays homage to a range of different music styles and theatrical conventions, which altogether create an entertaining evening of catchy tunes and tight glittery trousers.
Jaymi Hensley (of Union J fame) is an unexpected star, able to carry emotional musical numbers with genuine pathos, rather than relying on his boy-band image, which makes his version of Joseph not a cameo, but a charming and likeable character to root for. Trina Hill wows as The Narrator, moving the story along and hitting some impressive high notes.
However, it is the merry band of brothers (I can name them all, now) that are really the stars of the show; an energetic and delightful ensemble that really give the show an extra oomph that it sometimes misses during slower or more meandering portions of the plot. Their wit and energetic dance routines are silly but superb, and each especially gives their own unique, distinguishable performance as part of the group, which ensembles often fail to do. Tasked with singing in a different style of music for almost every number, from square-dancing round-ups to blues, the brothers bring humour to every scene they’re in.
However, at times the show loses its momentum. The over-use of long overtures at the beginning of each act, and blackouts during extremely small scene transitions, does a lot to break engagement with the piece. As a result of its wild changes in music and tone, being pushed suddenly out of the moment is jarring and disappointingly unnecessary, especially towards the end when the stage goes dark just so that characters can roll on feathery sleeves. The show also announces itself as a brand new 2019 edition of this iconic musical, however a quick and similarly unnecessary transphobic joke during an attempted-seduction scene made me cringe back into the early-2000s.
Slower moments aside, this show is a great evening of eclectic dance numbers and songs that transported me back to watching the Donny Osmond movie version that my mum had on VHS. Accessible to all age groups, Joseph is deserves a gold star. And a red one. And an orange and yellow and green and pink and ochre and crimson and chocolate and blue and-
PHOTOS: Pamela Raith
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