Go, go go Joseph, you know what they say, go go go Joseph you’ll make it to Waterside in Aylesbury someday. Well that someday is this week as Joseph receives a very warm welcome from its audience. It’s an iconic piece of theatre with exceptional songs by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber. I was recently asked how often I have seen it and the truth is I have lost count but it is in my top five of most seen shows. It is a joy to watch and this fresh cast have so much energy and enthusiasm; you know you are guaranteed a good time.
Way way back, many centuries ago. Not long after the bible began. I am not the narrator, but I will tell you a brief outline of the story, although I’d much rather sing it. Joseph is the well-known biblical story a boy who could interpret dreams. Joseph is the youngest of 12 children of Jacob and as he was Jacob’s favourite son which his brothers didn’t like. After Jacob gives Joseph a multi-coloured coat, his brothers decide to get rid of Joseph – and sell him as a slave. Joseph ends up in Egypt and works hard from nothing to become the successful number two of the Pharaoh. It is a real rags to riches story but at its heart is a story about believing in yourself, love and forgiveness.
Joseph is played by Mark McMullan who was a finalist on Britain’s Got Talent. The part of Joseph has big shoes to fill with the likes of Philip Schofield, Joe McElderry, Lee Mead and Jason Donovan, who have all previously undertaken the role. However, Mark stands strong against his previous peers is absolutely outstanding in his portrayal of Joseph. Mark holds the audience in the palm of his hands and is funny and sincere in the role. Mark’s voice is exceptional, and Close Every Door was an emotional rollercoaster; you could hear a pin drop in the theatre as every audience member was spellbound by his performance.
The story is told by a Narrator and that part is played by Alexandra Doar. Her expression in her voice gives weight to the story she is telling. She has a lovely smile and she delivers so well you really feels she is telling us a story worth hearing. Of course Jacob has another eleven sons which all gave brilliant performances. I do have to give a special mention to Henry Lawes who played the Pharaoh. He really could have been Elvis! He sang another song King Of My Heart which also mentions other Elvis songs in a tongue in cheek way. I also loved the Butler (Robert Bardsley) and Baker (Alfie Parker) roles. Perfectly executed. Opps, perhaps I had better change that word for the (soon to be executed) Baker who did his role in a dead pan northern accent which is perfect. Henry Metcalfe plays both Jacob and Potiphar and is a true veteran actor. He is believable in the role and instantly likeable. A great performance.
The real star of the show is the music. There are songs you will know such as Any Dream will do, Close Every door to me and Go Go Go Joseph, but there are also many songs performed in a different style. One more angel in Heaven is done in a country style and there were cowboy hats, a hoe-down and even a few cow-girls. It is also quite funny as they are trying to be sad but secretly are pleased that Joseph is gone. Those Canaan days is a Parisian style they are all in berets. There is a bike with onions on it and even an image of the Eiffel Tower in the background. It’s a million miles from Canaan but that’s what makes it funny. J’adore the French lyrics which make me feel I could almost speak French. Almost. Go Go Go Joseph is in full choir and pretty spectacular. Benjamin has his own Calypso which was performed by Lovonne Zeus Richards who plays Zebulan is fabulous at delivering this vibrant number. And of course I have already mentioned Elvis as the Pharaoh and that is given an American twist with cheerleaders and American football outfits. The finale of this production felt modern and current with us all on our feet singing and dancing along. Some of the brothers come into the aisles to join us. One held my hand and sung with me. Its moments like this that stay in the audience’s memory long after the show has finished. In my opinion this show is fun, family friendly and always leaves you feeling good singing the songs on your way home. Sh na na Joseph you’re doing fine, go and see Joseph; you’ll have a good time.
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is playing at waterside, Aylesbury until Saturday 18 January.