Musical: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
Venue: Grand Opera House, York
Dates: Until Saturday, October 5
Review by: Julia Pattison
I have seen many performances of this well-loved musical, and thoroughly enjoyed the show last time at Grand Opera House York, when X Factor winner from 2009, Joe McElderry played the title role, and more than rose to the challenge of following in the footsteps of previous celebrity Josephs such as Philip Schofield and Donny Osmond.
This latest Bill Kenwright production of Joseph featured Union J’s Jaymi Hensley in his first ever major musical role.
I’d never heard of him, and it was obvious that considerable work had been done to make the musical accessible to a new generation of younger audiences.
There was no doubt that Jaymi was a hit with the audience, but personally, I felt he made it look like it was hard work; yes, he had a lovely singing voice and looked the part, but I was very aware that he was merely acting the part.
I appreciate that this revamped and much-hyped version of Joseph wasn’t targeting my generation, but Jaymi’s rather affected interpretation of Close Every Door did nothing for me, whereas Joe McElderry’s rendition had sent shivers up the spine.
Alexandra Doar made a capable Narrator, but didn’t really command the space as I’d expected she would in such a key role.
To me, the stars of the show were the energetic and enthusiastic eleven brothers and handmaidens who were a fantastic ensemble, entertaining us all royally with their singing and dancing routines; Those Canaan Days was a particular highlight.
All credit to Gary Lloyd for his additional new choreography throughout the show.
Luckily, Andrew Geater didn’t disappoint in the much-anticipated Elvis style Pharoah numbers and was rewarded with rapturous applause.
The Joseph Megamix Reprises were spectacular, with Jaymi resplendent as Joseph in his Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and the audience giving the cast a standing ovation.
An enjoyable night’s entertainment, but for this reviewer, a show that didn’t live up to the hype.