I closed my eyes, drew back the curtain… to see Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat has arrived in Birmingham! One of this country’s most successful ever musicals is here for a run at the Hippodrome, which sees Jaymi Hensley (of Union J and X Factor fame) don the famous coat in a UK-wide tour.
For decades now, Joseph has been delighting audiences around the world, with its uplifting numbers composed by the incomparable Andrew Lloyd Webber with lyrics by Tim Rice. It follows the biblical story of Joseph, the favourite of Jacob from his many sons. When the brothers grow tired of Joseph’s dreaming and privilege, they sell him as a slave in Egypt. But Joseph never stops dreaming and eventually he finds his way out of hardship and finally achieves redemption.
This musical has been through many incarnations over the years, most famously when Jason Donovan took on the lead role in the 1991 West End version. The role was then taken on by Phillip Schofield and Darren Day throughout the 90s.
This Bill Kenwright touring version may not be the full-scale big-budget production that was resident at the London Palladium for all of those years, but thanks to the timeless songs and a
Jaymi Hensley has taken excellently to a tough lead role that requires, not just musical skill, but an ability to perform the comedic sections as well as the emotional ones. And if you are new to this show, you must also look out for the classic character Pharaoh (who is portrayed in the style of Elvis), fantastically performed here by Andrew Geater. When he launched into the character’s signature song Poor, Poor Pharaoh, the Hippodrome crowd began to sway along enthusiastically in their chairs.
The finale of this show is also surely one of the best in musical history. First of all, there is the spectacular reveal of Joseph’s incredible rainbow coattails, and then if you haven’t had enough of the brilliant songs during the performance, get ready for a spine-tingling mega-mix of the entire soundtrack. The audience is encouraged to get on their feet and dance along with the cast, which on this occasion the Hippodrome was only too happy to do.
For anyone needing a lift, Joseph has to be the show to see this summer. A reminder to us all to believe in the power of dreams and, of course, that any dream will do…