Middle Eastern Boy Does Good In Egypt!

Joseph And The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat,.

Theatre Severn, 4th-8th September

The awesome beauty of a theatre when it is used properly occurs in its ability to whisk you away to anywhere it wants to, leaving you little choice but to go along with the journey to see what might happen.

That is the feeling you will get this week if you haven’t already been to see the truly spectacular Joseph and the amazing technicoloured dreamcoat. One might suspect that maybe Joseph had had its day. Perhaps the story had been told too often and the tunes played just too much. But none of it! Director, Bill Kenwright’s biblical romp gleams with a brand new shiny coat of paint. He has masterly brought this spectacular show dancing into the Twenty First Century. Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s classic masterpiece is alive and well and currently residing in Shrewsbury.

As a critic it is important to catch a picture of the whole performance from the leading player to the third spear carrier on the left. A reviewer must also look as to how space is used and how the technical language, as in use of lighting and sound, all go together to make the final piece. This show is perfect in every way. The stage is alive with colour and vibrancy, Keith Jack’s Joseph captured every emotion perfectly. From the pathos of the jail cell scene to the joy of his rise to power and the forgiveness of his brothers was superbly executed. From the start the use of the Story Teller, played by Lauren Ingram, prepared the audience for it's journey into an amazing land, and it prepared them for the story that would follow.

This was also a very witty show, from the inflatable sheep, that almost inflated, to the golden Chariot and the glowing eyed Tutankhamen mask it was all beautifully funny.

The commitment of a player is what sells the part to the recipient, there was no question of commitment in this show, We saw commitment to the text, to the movement and to the storyline. When one is presented by an ensemble piece it is always of value to see what is happening on the back row of the chorus. Are they still selling the story and are they committed? They certainly were in this production.

When a cast is so skilled and so committed it becomes hard to name any one player that particularly stands out. Each audience member may have singled out someone different for a special mention. I can give two names who were extremely entertaining in their interpretations. One was Judah played by Richard J Hunt and the other being Gad played by Michael Ward. Their dancing and vocals were incredible. If they could bottle their energy I would suggest they should go into business selling it, they would surely be well on their way to riches. However, there wasn’t a player on that stage that shouldn’t have been there. It was a golden performance.

The use of a stage school chorus with an age range between about 11 and 17 was a great idea as they sang beautifully. They sat perfectly still when they should and sang out when they had to. They added a real beauty to the overall sound. Well done to Chester Stagecoach there was clear evidence of your hard work with those teens.

What is this? Was there nothing to pick fault at? Am I for the first time as a reviewer going to give this show a clear round? Yes I am. Well done to everyone involved and well done to Peter Nicholson, the Theatre Administrator, for bringing this show to town. Here’s hoping that this review leads you to the theatre. You will find it worth it.

This is a five star review.


Owen Lewis Owen Lewis

Owen Lewis was born fifty something years ago in the land of the black puddings. For the geographically challenged that is in Lancashire. Moving to Shropshire From 1970 Owen was brought up in Church Stretton. His first real job was in radio. After starting on BBC Radio Shropshire he became known on Marcher Sound, broadcasting throughout the North West for several years. After a university degree course in Theatre, Owen became an actor and went on to play "Pirate Bill" in The Alton Towers Hotel. He also made several television appearances. Returning to university he took his PGCE enabling him to teach. That saw him on the Essex coast as a drama teacher and latterly as a Creative Educational Liaison Officer making films and creating new teaching methods to employ on children in need of more help in their fundamental learning skills. Three times Published playwright Owen ultimately wants a house boat in Amsterdam to focus on his work as Playwright and Poet. See more on www.ojlwritingservices.co.uk.

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