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31st March 2022

Review: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat

Sophie Hicks reviews Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at Manchester Opera House, starring Alexandra Burke, Jason Donovan and Jac Yarrow
Review: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat
A scene from Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat by Andrew Photo: Alexandra Burke, Jac Yarrow and ensemble by ©Tristram Kenton.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat is a classic musical for a reason. Its show-stopping songs, sets and costumes make it feel like such a big production, as if you’re watching something special. After fifty years from when it was first created, it still resonates with many and feels just as magical.

For those unaware of the plot, the musical follows the biblical story of Joseph, who is envied by his brothers for being his father’s favourite and a strong dreamer. After his brothers sell him to slavers, he receives the admiration of Egypt’s Pharaoh, and his brothers don’t know any better. Will they ever see each other again? What will become of Joseph? Go and watch the show to find out!

Photo: ©Tristram Kenton 07-21.

The UK tour is the redesigned, brand-new London Palladium production, with some of the same iconic cast, such as Alexandra Burke as the Narrator, Jason Donovan as the Pharaoh, and Jac Yarrow in his Olivier award-nominated performance of Joseph and Alexandra Burke as The Narrator. Donovan played Joseph in the musical’s first West End revival, and that earned him an Olivier nomination too.

Filled with talent, every cast member is truly wonderful. I never thought I’d say this, but I was even envious of how talented the children were. They were so energetic and fun to watch, and you could tell they were having a great time on stage.

Throughout the entire show, Burke (pregnant belly on display) was smiling and having the time of her life, and the crowd erupted in applause when Donovan entered the stage in the second act. I can see why Yarrow was Olivier nominated for his performance; he was an extremely charismatic Joseph. I loved his performance, and I think he loved performing it too. It was also wonderful to see him back onstage after a small bout with illness forced him to miss a few shows.

Photo: ©Tristram Kenton.

In particular, I loved the costumes in this production. The technicolour dreamcoat is absolutely stunning, and I love how it was pleated so it moved gracefully with every twirl of the coat. The details on it were impeccable, with starry segments on it to reflect Joseph’s dreamer nature, and even the lining inside the coat had rainbow stripes. From every angle, the coat was spectacular.

Rainbow was incorporated into many of the dancers’ costumes too, such as cheerleading costumes and cancan skirts. It was such a vibrant show to watch, and even the lighting was colourful. A particular highlight for me was the song ‘Joseph’s Coat’, where The Narrator listed the colours, and the lighting framing the stage matched the colour named, alongside the constellations in the sky. It was such a joy to watch, and I even noticed people wearing rainbow accessories and outfits in the crowd!

As a sung-through musical, its pacing is very well done, considering how tiresome some musicals can be. With the range of songs and dance sequences, from an Elvis-impersonating Pharaoh to children harmonising, this show has something for everyone. I went to see the show with my friend who has never seen a musical before, and her face of joy said it all.  Joseph is for the dreamers, and for those who like to have some fun, with many jokes in the show landing with the crowd.

Joseph and The amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat plays at Manchester Opera House until 2nd April before continuing its UK tour.

The few remaining Manchester dates are close to selling out. Get your tickets whilst you; it’s extremely popular for a reason!

If you’re seeing the show in a different city, be sure to check the cast beforehand: whilst Yarrow will be starring in the tour during its entire run, Burke and Donovan are only performing at select dates. Where Burke is not performing, Linzi Hately (who originated the role of the Narrator in the 1991 West End revival) will be in her place.

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