UK Tour Reviews & Interviews 2019
Theatre Royal, Windsor
20 February 2019
A standing ovation finale was a fitting tribute to the first night of Bill Kenwright’s brilliant new production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat” at Theatre Royal, Windsor.
The buzzing theatre was packed on this half term evening with an audience of all ages excited to see the show. A stirring instrumental medley of its familiar song intros had us clapping along from the very beginning. As the Egyptian patterned curtain rose, we were treated to a beautiful stage set with a pyramid of steps leading up to a starry night sky. A simple dramatic backdrop doubled as seating for the child chorus and the perfect showcase to draw our view centre stage, making the characters the focal point.
The narrator, Trina Hill, rings out crystal clear vocals as she introduces us to Jacob and his sons. Henry Metcalfe and Gary Lloyd’s energetic fresh choreography has the brothers dancing joyously before our eyes. The family bonds and tensions are displayed with humour, energy and fun. This makes the clever combination of minute details in this show seem effortless. It’s a credit to Nick Richings’ lighting design when the audience laugh as the stage is plunged a shade of green to match the brothers’ jealous faces.
I wasn’t familiar with Union J’s Jaymi Hensley before he appeared on the stage as Joseph. The whoops and yells that he drew from other members of the audience were soon rewarded as he burst into vibrant song. By the time Joseph reaches his lowest point in the tale, Jaymi’s powerfully emotional rendition of ‘Close every door’ will send chills down your spine.
Act Two begins with a sweet voiced medley of songs from the childrens choir, recapping the action so far. The dramatic pace continues as we’re taken from the prison to the palace where Andrew Geater’s Pharaoh delights us with his deep voiced Elvis impersonation and that hip sway.
One of the most entertaining aspects of this musical is how the song range has such a global span. It’s the perfect excuse for a dazzling array of singing, dancing and costume styles as we travel from the country blues twang of ‘One more angel in heaven’ through to the bright beat of the ‘Benjamin Calypso’. This production even manages to sneak a highly amusing French flavour into one of the numbers.
Don’t miss this fabulous production of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s much-loved musical. It’s such a heart pumping pleasure from beginning to end.
© Theatre-News 2019
Interview With… Jaymi Hensley
FEBRUARY 22, 2019
Love London Love Culture’s Emma Clarendon caught up with Union J’s Jaymi Hensley to talk about taking on the role of Joseph in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
Hi Jaymi, thanks so much for talking to me. How are you feeling about being part of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat?
To be honest I am still pinching myself that it is real! It really is a dream come true to step into such an iconic roll, and I am really am having the time of my life!
What for you makes Joseph a great musical theatre role to play?
I think it is how joyous the show is. There is so much doom and gloom in the world at the moment that I think Joseph being full of such feel good songs is exactly what audiences need to see!
What did you think of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat when you first saw it?
I actually don’t remember seeing it as I was so young, but the music has always been there! It is surprising how much these songs are engrained into our lives!
Why do you think it has been such a successful musical?
Great songs, great story, great fun!
How would you describe the show?
A feel good time for all the family!
By Emma Clarendon
"A heart pumping pleasure from beginning to end" -Theatre News
"I had a big smile which stayed with me to the end of the show." -Marlow FM
'It was a brilliant, and the grins through the performance said it all" -Families Thames Valley East Magazine
Theatre Royal, Windsor
Amazing! Intoxicating! And totally bonkers!
The Andrew Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice smash hit musical has been touring the UK for a while now, but it still maintains the joie de vivre that has audiences coming back again and again.
This was evident last night via the hum of several ladies behind me singing along to every word. EVERY WORD. It is clearly a much-loved production and this one didn’t disappoint.
I must admit I was predisposed to love it, having ‘starred’ in a minor role of Joseph in my primary school production. Those lyrics never leave you; I could have sung along with EVERY WORD. But I digress.
Much like Les Miserables, the story is told through continual rousing musical song and dance numbers, only without all that misery. I remember the songs as being jolly, but what joy can be conjured up on a primary school piano is one hundred-fold with a live orchestra and set of professional showmen and women.
The story is narrated in song by Trina Hill, who is in possession of a truly remarkable voice - I’m still humming Go, Go, Go Joseph and in my head I sound just like her...
The role of Joseph is taken by Jaymi Hensley – a member of X Factor-formed band Union J. Jaymi gave us a cheeky, loveable Joseph. His delivery of Close Every Door had me mesmerised, and his singing in the final Any Dream Will Do number was spectacular.
The supporting cast – all those brothers! – were hilarious, delivering cowboy-style laments to poor, poor Joseph (after they’d sold him), and for some reason known only the show’s creators, a Parisian inspired look-back at Those Canaan Days when the famine came. They are a hotchpotch bunch, some better dancers than others, but it all fitted the haphazard, slightly crazy feel of the production. That’s not to say it’s sloppy, far from it, this show is a well-oiled machine that knows exactly how to push the audience’s happy buttons.
A shout out to the children’s choir who spent the entire show sat so still it was hard to believe they were children at all. Their wonderful singing gave the show added wow and brought a tear to my eye more than once. Must be those primary school memories...
© Copyright 2019 Baylis Media Limited
Theatre Royal, Windsor
The most performed musical of all time (has sold 15 million tickets to date), Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, has started its first tour since 2016 by opening at the Theatre Royal in Windsor. We had the pleasure of being the first to watch this fabulous show on opening night.
With music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice, this much-loved show was brought to life again by Bill Kenwright with Union J’s Jaymi Hensley as Joseph. The famous songs Close Every Door and Any Dream Will Do were performed to West End standard. The sound, lightning and set were just great.
This is a dream role for Jaymi who says he is honoured to be stepping into the prestigious coloured coat.
The story of Joseph is sang beautifully by the narrator Trina Hill. The children in the chorus were from Babette Langford’s, The Young Set and did a fantastic job.
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is a biblical story and it tells the tale of Joseph, who is one of 12 brothers and his father’s favourite son, the jealously of his brothers, his rise from slavery to becoming a minister in the Pharaohs court and also forgiveness.
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is a wonderful show and definitely a family musical to see! It is sung and acted beautifully and will see you leaving the theatre humming and singing the tunes with a smile on your face. A magical story.
Theatre Royal, Windsor
When we saw that Bill Kenwright was putting on a production of 'Joseph', my husband, son and I were very keen to get along!
Our 8-year-old son was in a school production of the musical last year, so he couldn't wait to hear the familiar songs and follow the plot he knew and loved well. Indeed the singing, dancing and acting simply blew us away.
It was actually the first time I had seen a performance of the hit musical myself and I was fully engaged in a stage full of colour, music styles, dancing and acting in this adaptation of the show. Union J’s Jaymi Hensley plays Joseph and he certainly proves he can sing, dance and hold up the charisma so vital to this starring role.
Retelling the Biblical story of Joseph, his eleven brothers and the coat of many colours, this magical musical is full of unforgettable songs including 'Those Canaan Days', 'Any Dream Will Do' and 'Close Every Door To Me'. I was a little worried I'd want to sing along and ruin it for everyone else, but actually I was in such awe of the performance, I just wanted to hear the professionals! In the words of my son: 'It was a brilliant' and the grins through the performance said it all.
Theatre Royal, Windsor
Genius, pure genius.
Bill Kenwright is jamming them in at Windsor's Theatre Royal with a mesmerising adaptation of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat which will have you singing and dancing all the way home.
This adored Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber favourite is simply sensational with a new vibrancy and take on this marvellous musical.
With brilliant Bill directing this latest outing, Britain's busiest impresario and Theatre Royal owner has brought in a cracking fresh feel to this dream of a musical.
We all know the songs, but with a live band, some of the best stage voices you will hear anywhere in the UK and some busting moves to new choreography by Gary Lloyd, it's a smash hit.
This is a dream you'll want to remember in the morning.
Trina Hill has the most wonderful vocal talent, as has the entire cast. As Narrator she opens the show by introducing Joseph, the dreamer, his father and his 12 sons.
Jacob has given Joseph, his youngest and favourite son, a multi-coloured coat of which his brothers are envious. Their jealousy mounts as Joseph's dreams, from which he will profit, lead them to try to kill him, but they change their minds and sell him as a slave into Egypt and tell their father he was killed by a wild animal. The brothers' and wives' Hoedown is a 'hoot and a holla' as they celebrate Joseph's going, as is the twist on later numbers with Gospel and '20s Chicago-style gangster overlays.
Frankly, this Joseph is a joy. As Joseph languishes in an Egyptian cell he interprets fellow prisoners' dreams and in the second half is brought before the mighty Pharaoh to work out his own drastic dream of the country's future famine and helps him prepare to deal with it, becoming Pharaoh's right hand man.
Meanwhile, Joseph’s family back home is struggling due to the famine, with his brothers regretting what they did to him and how they lied to their father. They travel to Egypt and later discover their brother and all is saved.
Joseph wears his coloured coat again as Any Dream Will Do rings around the audience.
Jaymi Hensely (boy band Union J in X Factor) as Joseph is just superb. Powerful and resonant tones underline a great stage voice.
The sons in ensemble are excellent, as are the wives and children adorning a great set by designer Sean Cavanagh.
I loved it all as we sang, danced and clapped from one number to the next. I have reviewed Joseph five times now around the country over the decades, but this is a big breakout from the norm.
This is a brand-spanking Biblical belter.
However, Andrew Geater, for me, stole the show. Hensley is undoubtedly the star as Joseph, but he would be basking in a half light without this truly sensational cast. And with Geater as Pharaoh - played with verve and unnerving realism as Elvis Presley, complete with hair quiff and iconic white rhinestone one-piece as the 'king' - his quality as a performer shone out.
This is an amazing Joseph so don't daydream, ditch the tellybox and colour yourself happy with a joyous night of song and dance down at the 'Royal'.
©2019 UK THEATRE NETWORK
Theatre Royal, Windsor
Jaymi’s Jumping For Joy Now He’s Joseph
Jaymi Hensley, a member of 2013’s BBC “British Breakthrough Band” of the year, will don the Technicolor Dreamcoat and lead the company in his first role in a major musical. Having risen to fame on The X Factor, Union J went on to have a top ten album and a major UK tour and Jaymi later appeared on a number of hit TV shows, including the BBC’s Celebrity Masterchef.
Full of life and colour, the magical musical features unforgettable and timeless songs including Go, Go, Go Joseph, Any Dream Will Do, Jacob and Sons and Close Every Door To Me. Retelling the Biblical story of Joseph, his eleven brothers and the coat of many colours, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is the first of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musicals to be performed publicly. Seen by an estimated 26 million people, and counting, Joseph continues to enthral audiences around the world.
Jaymi is the latest in a long line of great musical theatre performers to take on the lead role which, considering that this is his first ever major musical theatre role, must be quite an intimidating prospect…
So Jaymi, how’s it going?
It’s just brilliant, Windsor is a lovely place, the theatre is beautiful, the audiences have been amazing and it’s really nice that we have a two week run here so we can get properly settled in before we head out “on the road”. I cannot describe how excited and honoured I am to be stepping into the prestigious coloured coat. When I think of iconic roles in musical theatre, Joseph was always one that I dreamt of playing growing up.
And how are you settling in to ten shows a week?
Well, to be honest, I’ve just come out of a long panto run where we did 12 shows a week, so ten a week is a bit like a holiday! The thing is, it’s such a fun show to be part of that it doesn’t feel too much like hard work because we’re just having a whale of a time doing it.
It’s such a well known show too because for a lot of kids they either see it in the theatre or sometimes they perform it in schools too. I remember when I started rehearsals, it wasn’t like other jobs where you have to start from scratch, it just felt like I pretty much knew all that I had to do already. It’s a joy to be a part of such a theatrical institution.
Do you have a completely new cast with you?
There are some old faces still in the cast who have been doing it for a few years and there is one person, he’s quite a veteran of the show, Henry Melcalfe. I think he’s been in the show since the “dawn of time”, only joking, but we also have some new faces in the cast too.
I understand congratulations are in order too, as you have been nominated for an award.
Yes, I’ve received the Great British Pantomime Awards nomination as Best Principal Boy for my performance as Peter Pan at the Birmingham Hippodrome and I’m honest to God chuffed to bits with it. This was actually my 20th anniversary pantomime performance. 20 years ago I did my first professional pantomime, as a junior, so it really is the very best anniversary present ever.
I’ll keep my fingers crossed that I win but, if not, it’s ok because I love pantomime, I love what it stands for, that it is so much of a British tradition and it’s a huge part of my personal history, so to get the chance to be up there, and to play the title role is just a dream.
Talking of traditions, you’re headlining another one right now.
Oh yes, it’s the 50th anniversary year for Joseph and, it’s.. it’s like a household name. It’s the musical that everyone knows, that everyone loves and when they first told me that they wanted me to play Joseph I was really daunted because they are such huge shoes to fill in this role, but what I really love with this new production is that they have kind of let me put my spin on it.
They have been really gracious and we’ve worked with the part to make it a bit fresher but also remembering that I have some great former Joseph’s to look up to as well. I can take bits from their performances and use those bits to develop my performance. Whether it’s Donny Osmond, Philip Schofield, Jason Donovan or Lee Mead they have all added to the role and now I can carry that on.
Do you ever get the feeling that you want to pinch yourself to make sure it’s all real?
Actually I have had three moments where I have done that. On opening night, after Close Every Door, I was like, “Oh my God, I am really doing this!”. Then when they bring the big coat out, that moment sends chills right up my spine because I think, really, this is it! And then there is the moment, at the end, when you get the reaction from the audience, when they have really loved it, it is such an amazing feeling.
It’s like a pantomime without all the screaming and shouting. It’s the very best feel-good show ever. It doesn’t take itself too seriously when, as a Bible story, it could be really heavy but when people come along to see it, even if they have never seen it before, they just have the best time ever. It’s like a great big party and that’s just what we need at the moment with everything that is going on – Just a bit of light and a bit of fun!
I think one of the best things they have done to the show is to add the Megamix finale.
I love the Megamix, even though I watch most of it from the wings, because, just for a little while, I get to watch the show like the audience do and I get to feel the energy and see how much fun everyone is having. It’s just amazing and I love it so much.
Jaymi is joined by Trina Hill as Narrator, Andrew Geater as Pharoah, alongside Henry Metcalfe, Amber Kennedy, Matt Jolly, Joshua Robinson, Callum Connolly, Alex Hetherington, Arthur Boan, Mikey Jay-Heath, George Beet, Lewis Asquith, Ed Tunningley, Corey Mitchell, Eve Norris, Gemma Pipe and Jamie Jukes.
Bill Kenwright’s “Amazing”, “Superb”, “Wonderful” and “Brilliant” production of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s sparkling family musical embarks on a national tour, with a new Joseph coming to The Hawth Crawley from Tuesday 12th to Saturday 16th March.
Theatre Royal, Windsor
The Hangover meets the book of Genesis, Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, is like a bible study group’s road trip to Vegas – surreal, intoxicating (or should that be intoxicated?) and brilliantly bonkers. All that was missing was Mike Tyson and an angry tiger in a smashed up hotel room.
The Andrew Lloyd Webber/ Tim Rice musical has been doing the rounds for years, but it is a far cry from the laboured school productions that we’ve all endured – heavy on the fire and brimstone and light on razzle dazzle.
Not in this show. Yes, it’s theatre fondue, but Bill Kenwright’s production – the longest-running touring show in history, now in its 38th unstoppable year – remains an irrepressible delight. It has something of a cult following, too, judging by singing, whooping and dancing from the audience.
Union J popstrel Jaymi Hensley has been passed the gilded loin cloth worn by Jason Donovan, Philip Schofield, Denise Van Outen’s ex Lee Mead (remember him?), Gareth Gates, H from Steps, Joe McElderry and more. Let’s hope it’s had a good wash over the years.
So how did the talent show totty hold up? Well, as the Tim Rice lyric goes ‘Go, go, go Joseph, you know what they say,/ go, go, go Joseph, you’ll make it someday!’. If I were Jaymi, I’d bin off Union J and pursue a career in musicals. He was good. Really good. A superb singing voice – only occasionally drowned out by the enthusiastic live orchestra – he pulled off a silver lamé pelmet and managed to remain half naked without turning blue. These old theatres are terribly drafty.
It’s important to remember that although Joseph has his name up in lights, the show is nothing without the ensemble cast. I loved the 11 back-stabbing brothers whether they were cowboys selling their golden child sibling to the highest bidder, beret wearing Frenchmen singing Those Canaan Days or getting their Copacabana on in frilly shirts for Benjamin Calypso, they all brought personality to their roles and humour to the audience.
Special mention has to go to rock ‘n’ roll Elvis Pharoah (Andrew Geater). A man who looks like Elvis and Donny Osmond’s love child, but those hips don’t lie and he brought the house down belting out Song Of The King. Mrs Potipher also left a big impression. The sexy seduction scene may have purists gnashing their teeth, but I’m all for a cougar on the prowl in a skirt split to her hip.
Trina Hill carries the weight of the narrator role with ease – and she’s got a lot of singing to do. Her experience made her performance enjoyable to watch, but in places her vocals were a little too much, mistaking power for shrieking.
I thought I’d like Joseph in a warm, familiar kinda way, but I LOVED it. It’s goes off like a rocket, so don’t miss the chance to see it you have until Saturday.
©© 2019 Muddy Stilettos
Leas Cliff Hall, Folkestone
Let's face it - it's a school production staple. So just how different can each version of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat be?
Very, as it happens.
And the latest edition under Bill Kenwright's direction, currently touring the UK, is certainly one of the better ones to have graced the British theatre scene in recent years.
Currently on at the Leas Cliff Hall - the only Kent date on the new 2019 tour - a packed audience of all ages in Folkestone jumped to their feet at the end of the night.
The story is Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's first classic - telling the biblical story of Joseph the dreamer, who is destined to achieve great things, and his eleven jealous brothers, who feel inferior because of their father's preferential treatment of his favourite son.
Taking on the monumental role of Joseph this time is Jaymi Hensley of X Factor fame in the boyband Union J.
Hensley is a phenomenally strong lead, and it is hard to believe it is his first major musical gig. With luscious vocal chords and looks, it's hard not to like him.
One of the most challenging elements of playing Joseph, which is so often never achieved, is bringing something new to the role. But Hensley knocks it out the park, and I thoroughly enjoyed his smug and entitled attitude towards his brothers at the beginning, which mellowed towards the end. It demonstrated true character progression.
His rendition of Any Dream Will Do to open the show gave me goosebumps, while his gut-wrenching belter of Close Every Door sent shivers down my spine.
He certainly has a long career ahead of him in musical theatre, having trained at the BRIT School, and I expect his name will join the long list of actors in the history books who have donned the coat of many colours, including Jason Donovan, Phillip Schofield and Lee Mead.
The success of a Joseph performance is usually underpinned by a strong Narrator, and Trina Hill certainly didn't disappoint. Her soft nature and graceful stage presence was a joy to watch.
But it could be said that the real stars of the show were the actors playing Joseph's eleven brothers. The tight-knit group served up a decent helping of impeccable comic timing, which had both the four-year-old and 60-year-old behind me in stitches.
Additionally, the snappy new choreography was a real treat, and consequently gave the brothers a more vibrant role in the storytelling. The dance abilities of Alex Hetherington as Benjamin were particularly stand-out.
The set also appeared different, but better - stripped back to the classic steps for the children's chorus, a glittering platform and tasteful palm trees in the wings, it worked really well within the space.
While most reviews discount the venue, it is important to note that Joseph is the Leas Cliff Hall's first major touring professional musical to be performed there.
If last night proved anything, it was that the Leas is absolutely capable of hosting similar productions in the future.
As a former 20th century music hall, it could have easily confined the space the cast members and technicians had to work with. But the challenge was met, and the clever stage and auditorium design effortlessly filled the hall to create an authentic looking West End stage.
Could this mark the beginning of many more professional musicals to make their way to the coastal venue? I hope so.
The show itself is still in need of a few tweaks in the actors' movements, to refine the fluidity of piece, but this likely to be due to the relative infancy of the run and I expect this will be ironed out in due course.
But above all else, having seen various versions of the show over the years, it was the most fun I have ever had in the Joseph Megamix finale. My dad was almost dancing in the aisle.
May I return? (To the beginning... Ah-ah-ahhh...)
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is at the Leas Cliff Hall, Folkestone from Tuesday, March 5 to Saturday, March 9.
©KM Group 2019
The Hawth, Crawley
It’s now 50 years since its first ever performance but, with Union J heartthrob Jaymi Hensley now wearing the infamous loincloth, Joseph still does exactly what it has always done. It gives the audience, old and new, a show full of catchy songs with a solid but simple storyline. For the first time theatregoer it provides a fantastic introduction to the world of theatre and, for the seasoned audience member, seeing it again just feels like meeting a very special old friend.
Despite reaching the ripe old age of 29, Hensley has a brilliant combination of the boyish charm he needs in act one together with the more masterly persona required later in the performance. He is perfectly comfortable with both the comedic and emotional sides of his character. Congratulations are also due for the masterful way that his vast array of tattoos are covered and disguised. Jaymi’s voice is crystal clear and powerful and, throughout the show, it is very obvious that he is loving the opportunity to play the coveted role. He is also supported by a tremendous company, filled with young and enthusiastic talent.
Trina Hill takes on the role of the narrator and opens the show with a tender and heartfelt prologue which starts the journey back to biblical days. The Joseph set is the usual dual staircase one which looms large over the, otherwise empty, stage. On it sit the Joseph choir, from the The Theatre Workshop, who start their performance by providing the backing vocals for the brilliant, Any Dream Will Do.
The enthusiasm with which the brothers introduce themselves is carried on all the way through to the finale. Despite the breakneck pace of the show, the amazingly quick costume changes that are required and the hugely energetic Joseph megamix ending, they never seem to tire.
Another wonderful thing about this show is the way that so many musical styles are used and it’s great to see that the lead vocals are shared by so many of the cast. Particular mention should go to Joshua Robinson who sings a superb Benjamin Calypso and a very special mention goes to veteran Joseph cast member Henry Metcalfe who has played Jacob and Potiphar for longer than I can remember.
Pharaoh (Andrew Geater), still appears in his Elvis Presley jumpsuit, with flying scenery and pyrotechnics heralding his entrance. Surrounded by his adoring fans, Pharaoh gets the whole audience clapping along while he recounts the tales of his bizarre dreams, with enough time and energy to go through it all – “Just one more time”. He also powers his way through the newest song in the piece, King of My Heart.
This is not a show that will change the world, well, not completely. What it does do is take people, who may have had a hard day, and it makes them smile. It makes tired feet tap along to the superb music and it ensures that, whatever troubles are outside the theatre doors, they stay outside. This show is feel-good with a capital F and, I am certain, it will still be running fifty years from now!
©Sussex Newspaper 2019
The Hawth, Crawley
Rebecca's Writing On The Walls
I have never seen Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (wow that’s a mouthful), so I didn’t really know what to expect. I mean of course I know the famous song “Any Dream Will Do” and that Philip Schofield very famously played the roll of Joseph and of course its Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice but I never actually got round to seeing it, so here I am at the Hawth Theatre in Crawley about to experience it for the first time.
When the show started there was a very long musical introduction that made me think that something had gone wrong, maybe it had, I don’t know but people were starting to look around confused, including me but then suddenly it was showtime and all was forgotten.
When those first few notes of Any Dream Will Do started a few of the audience members just couldn’t resist joining in with the aaaahaaa (I managed to stop myself but it was hard). I may not have seen this musical before but come on, everyone knows the aaaahaaaa’s?
Anyway, moving on, I didn’t realise that Joseph was a comedy musical?
It was fun and energetic but because I wasn’t expecting it, it took me a while to adjust to the silliness. I mean we had Elvis. But by the end I was up on my feet dancing and singing along with the rest of the audience, you couldn’t help but be swept along with the madness and the energy and the audience were loving it.
My favorite part funnily enough was not a funny part, it was when Joseph was in prison all alone and Jaymi Hensley (Joseph) starts singing. I was blown away and it made me want the musical to have a few more moments like this.
oseph is over the top fun, a great night out for you and the family, with a great cast and classic songs and the very famous coat, you cant go wrong especially with Jaymi Hensley as the lead, his power house vocals stole the show for me and I would happily watch it again just for that.
All in all its worth a watch and if you know Joseph and have seen it before then it will not come as a surprise but if like me you haven’t, then remember to not take it seriously and just have fun.
I have nothing to compare this Joseph with so this my opinion on this particular show, its was fun, silly and colourful, the cast were great and the songs are classic. As I said earlier, it won me over in the end.
I feel that I might need to see this musical again. There was so much going on that I didn’t feel I could appreciate everything. I didn’t know what to expect so it threw me a little but now I know. I mean 15million tickets sold (estimated) for this UK Tour. That many people cant be wrong.
So go go go see Joseph!
As always this is my opinion, I always encourage you to see things for yourself as we are all wonderfully different.
©Rebecca's Writing On The Walls
The Hawth, Crawley
Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 1970’s popular musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is touring the UK in 2019 under Bill Kenwright’s direction and received a very warm welcome to The Hawth Theatre, Crawley, on Tuesday night.
The story is powerfully and sensitively narrated by song throughout, by the excellent West End worthy performance of Trina Hill, professionally supported by a choir of local children from the Theatre workshop. The story is based on the biblical story of dreamer Joseph and his coat of many colours from the Bible’s Book of Genesis.
Joseph is the known favourite of 12 sons, to Jacob (Henry Metcalfe) and when a gift of an amazing technicoloured coat is given to Joseph, coupled with the years of constant annoyance of Joseph’s enlightenments and gloating from his dreams, brings about an attack on Joseph and a ceremonial robbing and ripping of the coat with Joseph being sold by his jealous siblings as a slave and sent to Egypt. Here his story continues and he finds his dream interpretations are even more life changing.
With instantly recognisable and unforgettable songs ‘Any dream will do’, ‘Close Every Door’ Jaymi Hensley takes on his first major musical role. Known as a member of Union J, X Factor winner in 2012, there was a curiosity to see if he could deliver the performances of previous Josephs (Jason Donavon, Phillip Schofield, Donny Osmond) but similarly to Joe McElderry and Lee Mead this seems a rite of passage into musical theatreland and Jaymi deserves and proved he has a place in this theatrical line up of Josephs.
The supporting cast of the brothers, Pharaoh and the handmaidens were also truly excellent bringing the theatre alive with the songs (Pharaoh’s story, Benjamin Calypso) and dances of the musical. The show is fun and engages and captivates the audience, therefore, it is no wonder that the show is being billed to return to London later this year with another star-studded line-up.
©Theatre South East
The Hawth, Crawley
50 years young and still going strong, the vibrant technicolor story of Joseph, his brothers and that infamous coat has a new star and a new telling on tour this spring.
Half a century since the original Joseph concept album was released, although the show didn't see a full staging until 1973, Union J's Jaymi Hensley shows there's plenty of life, and even an alternative interpretation, left in the tale.
Bill Kenwright's production toys with some of the much-loved elements of the show, adding more comic touches from inflatable sheep to a golden motorbike-chariot, which the young cast embraced with gusto. Their irrepressible joy, particularly from the coterie of well-choreographed brothers, is palpable and pulls the audience in from the outset.
Sean Cavanagh's sets make the most of a smaller stage without making it feel crowded or overwhelming the actors. We particularly loved the gold Anubis heads winging in from either side and the beautifully painted cloth which covered the stage during the Overture.
Hensley delights in the role and brings a new interpretation to some of the songs and scenes. Despite being resplendent in expensive Uggs in contrast to his brothers' uniform white Hi-Tops, he starts the show meek and mild, gradually acquiring swagger and confidence as Joseph's stature rises.
A veteran of the X Factor and a manufactured band, I can't have been the only one in the audience who wondered if he could really sing. From the opening bars of Close Every Door, the answer is a glaring yes, he can. His voice is strong and has sufficient range for even the trickier changes in tone that the role demands.
Adding a bitter note to the first half, including Close Every Door, which I hadn't seen before, Hensley proves his worth way beyond manufactured pop, and shows real charisma in the role. (Something some of the more famous Josephs have failed to accomplish in recent years.)
Trina Hill's narrator is sometimes overshadowed by the off-stage orchestra, which is unfortunate, but may have been a simple mixing desk problem. No such problem for Andrew Geater's Pharaoh who was a huge hit with the audience, and rightly so.
If you take nothing else from this glorious meeting of Rice and Lloyd Webber, it's jolly good fun and a decent way to spend a couple of hours. Even the grumbling elderly gentleman sat behind us went out with a smile on his face and a spring in his step.
An excellent production of one of the nation's best-loved musicals, you have to see it!
Expect classic tale with a modern pop edge as revitalised Joseph arrives
“May I return to the beginning”, say the lyrics of famed Joseph song Any Dream Will Do.
And that’s exactly what the producer and choreographer of the new revitalised version of the show, playing in Edinburgh this week, has done.
The tale of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat was the first ever stage show Gary Lloyd saw, and at the age of fifteen, he even played the titular role.
“As you can imagine getting a chance to work on it and add some new life into such a classic is a dream come true,” he tells The Sunday Post.
“I’m so excited, The Playhouse is a wonderful theatre and Edinburgh is such a magical city. I love how Edinburgh is as renowned as London for loving and welcoming theatre.”
The musical, first devised by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, has enthralled audiences around the world for years, and Gary puts its success down to being a show that everyone can enjoy.
“It really is a family show,” he says. “I have sat with my son who was entranced by the whole thing and heard 90-year-olds laughing at the jokes, and then in between that, you have all the grown ups who know every word from doing it at school.
“It’s always a great atmosphere, a wonderful biblical story and a classic but now has a little modern edge that makes it feel so fresh.”
Having worked in the world of music, with the likes of Robbie Williams, Kelly Clarkson, John Barrowman, Girls Aloud and Anastasia, Gary has brought a pop element to the newly revived production.
Starring as Joseph is former Union J boyband star Jaymi Hensley, and the rest of the cast have been given bigger roles to play.
“I love playing with the juxtaposition of styles,” he says. “Bringing more cutting edge choreography into Joseph has made the brothers feel more relevant, has brought the Narrator more into the forefront of the action, and having Jaymi’s pop star approach has really given the show a face lift.
“I think that’s what I am known for. When Thriller first came into the West End, the theatre world turned its nose up. Now shows like Jamie and Six are winning awards and getting credible recognition for being commercial and cool.”
To that end, audiences can expect more than just the same old show they’ve seen before.
Gary promises a ‘wonderful’ trip down memory lane but warns: “Don’t get too comfortable, it’s not all as you remember it!”
He adds: “This particular production has been running for 40 years so there is a real foundation that enabled me to layer my work over the top.
“A new production can take months, sometimes years to develop. With Joseph, we had a few weeks.
“I do a lot of pre-production preparation so come into rehearsals with ideas and blocks of staging ready to go.
“It’s always good to leave some space to see what the actors bring and this new cast have been very receptive to that.”
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Edinburgh Playhouse, March 19-23
© DC Thomson Co Ltd 2019
Jaymi Hensley on his dream role as Joseph
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat opens at the Edinburgh Playhouse tomorrow (Tuesday). Here, Union J star Jaymi Hensley, who plays Joseph, talks about making his musical theatre dream come true.
What is Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat about?
It’s based on a biblical story about Joseph the dreamer. He has 11 brothers, but he’s his father’s favourite and his Dad gives him a coloured dreamcoat as a gift. His brothers get very jealous and hatch a plan to kill him, but instead he gets taken to Egypt as a slave and is sent to prison. Fate is on Joseph’s side however and despite trying times, he eventually becomes the prince of Egypt.
Joseph has got something special. It has all these markers that made me think of my life. I had people, not brothers, but contemporaries at school, who told me I couldn’t be what I wanted to be. I’m a dreamer; I wanted to be a star. I also had something that made me different; being a gay man and finding out at a young age.
I always had my head in the clouds, but I was always sure of who I was and I never let what anyone said deter me. That’s how I approached Joseph, with the message that as long as you stand by who you are, eventually the rest of the world will see how wonderful you are too.
Is that what drew you to the role?
It just felt right. Theatre was always my first love. I always envisioned myself on stage every day. But life took a different turn.
I believe in the universe giving you signs and the tools you need to make things happen. I did panto with Jimmy Osmond, who’s done Joseph, and then I met Joe McElderry, who’d also played Joseph. All these signs were there. It was so bizarre. It just felt like I need to do this. And I’ve never felt like I’m more in the right place at the right time than I do right now.
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is 50 years old this year. How do you think this show has stood the test of time?
Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice are the best. They wrote this musical at university! The songs are timeless. I think that is the one word to use. You have songs here that, in 2019, don’t have to be modernised. We’re not changing anything at all. That’s testament to how well written they are. I know how dated the music I released in the last seven years is already, just listening to the charts!
How did it feel to put on theatre’s most famous coat for the first time on stage?
At my opening night in Windsor, that moment was when I got an out-of-body, hairs on the back of your neck moment. I had goosebumps everywhere and was rushing with emotion. This is just such an amazing show to be a part of. I’m honoured that they’re letting me take the torch.
What’s most exciting about touring the show?
What I love about a touring show is people are so grateful that you’re coming to see them, that you’re doing the leg work. People really appreciate that.
I’m really looking forward to going to places I’ve never been before and finding new audiences. I love being on the road. Although I’ve been a pop star for the last seven years, being on stage is the thing I’ve done the least. It was all about being on TV or in a studio. The stage is what I love. I love being live in front of an audience, so to do it 10 times a week, I couldn’t be happier.
What is it that makes live performance so special?
It’s the seeing sweat on someone’s face, the passion and the being in the room with them. You can’t beat that. Especially singing, you can’t beat live music and hearing that passion come from someone’s voice. As a performer, you have to impress there and then; there’s no rerun, it’s now or never. That added pressure is what makes theatre so amazing.
At the start of 2019, you announced Union J were splitting for now. How do you look back on your time with that band?
I have the fondest memories of that project, even when things were tough for us. You need to have those moments to give you a sense of how much it means to you. I’ll be forever grateful to that band for giving me what it’s given me and the joy we’ve had over the years. In my adult life I’ve only done what I love. Very few people can say that. I would never take that for granted.
People might think it a little self-indulgent, but I watch back our YouTube videos and listen to our music. I’m very proud of what we achieved as, initially, three young kids who set out to do something and made it happen. We were all so determined.
One day, hopefully, we can get back together and do a reunion and be together at a different time in life when it’s right again. As much as we were a band, we are individual people and we have individual passions, hopes and aspirations. In every good relationship you have to let the other person flourish.
What can audiences expect from a trip to see Joseph?
It’s a real feel good musical. The music’s fun, it’s bright and colourful, and we have the most amazing, talented cast. The world at the moment is so depressing; I think everybody should come for a couple of hours of detachment from reality, and have a fun, uplifting time.
©2019 The Edinburgh Reporter
Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is at The Playhouse Theatre Edinburgh this week (Tuesday 19th to Saturday 23rd March ) and, as usual, it is an odd mixture of pastiche and parody that somehow seems to work on a level that even after 50 plus years still entertains children and adults alike.
To be honest, I am never sure why this show works so well as it is full of racial and nationalistic stereotypes that no contemporary show being made now would ever get away with, and it is clearly displaying its age now and stands out so obviously as a remnant of the 1960s. Perhaps though, the show’s simplicity and reflection of the time in which it was conceived is now a big part of its charm.
Joseph is always an odd production and, like Joseph himself and his dreams, you have to be prepared to enter completely into the absurd and almost dreamlike world (where nothing is quite as it should be) that is this production when you enter the theatre. Here, in their first produced stage show, Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber are taking lyrical and musical influences from many sources but, even here, the groundwork of everything that was to become their global theatrical successes is present.
Joseph as a show is so difficult to get right as it needs a cast with a light enough touch to keep its absurd imagery and production songs and limited dialogue flowing. Too light and it becomes farcical, too heavy and it just stops working as a show. But here, that touch is just right This stage show for me, also, always in the end comes down to three central characters – Joseph (Jaymi Hensley), Pharaoh (Andrew Geater) and Narrator (Trina Hill), and if these three are not working well together, then the show is doomed. Fortunately here, all three do work together very well, and like Joseph’s fate here, the future is bright for this production.
Here, Trina Hill as the Narrator has a gentle approach to this story, almost like reading to a class of children (let’s not forget to whom this show is aimed at for the most part) and Andrew Geater as Pharaoh/Elvis is obviously having so much fun with the absurdity of his character. I have to admit a liking for how the iconography of Elvis is used in this production with ancient Egyptian imagery blended into the design of that iconic white “Las Vegas” suit. Andrew Lloyd Webber has also used so many Elvis songs as references here, and Tim Rice is having just as much fun name-checking so many of them in his lyric.
The big surprise of this show though is Jaymi Hensley’s performance in his first ever major role. I completely missed (avoided) X Factor and Union J, so this review is based purely on his performance on stage tonight, and it is an impressive musical theatre debut. Jaymi obviously not only has the vocals to do the job, but knows how to emote those vocals to the lyric and music of the song, a pleasant change from a world where so many people think simply increasing in volume is the answer to everything. When required, Jaymi is also showing some real talent for the dramatic side of a role that any good musical theatre performer really needs to do the job. Given the right opportunities to learn his craft, and the right roles, Jaymi Hensley has the potential to become a serious force in musical theatre, and Andrew Lloyd Webber productions alone have so many opportunities waiting for him to explore.
Joseph is a production that, from its concept design, is one of simplicity and it can be staged from anything from a very basic school musical to the very good stage set and design that we had tonight. For the most part, dance production numbers were of a high standard too, but that French duet really does need sharpening up a lot – it is parodying a classic, and has a lot to live up to.
In a world full of chaos, Joseph is a return to much simpler days and a show that all the family can go to and enjoy. You know that there is going to be no crudity or offence here, and that is becoming an increasingly rare event in this world.
© Entertainment Edinburgh / Southside Advertiser 2019
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat proves it’s still at the top of its game as it returns to the Playhouse – again – over 50 years since it first launched.
The much-loved musical from Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice retells the Biblical story of Jacobs’s favourite son, Joseph, who is transported to Egypt after being sold into slavery by his envious brothers.
While there, his life takes a turn for the worse as he ends up being thrown into jail before managing to rebuild his life as a dream interpreter for the Pharaoh.
In this latest production of the show, it’s Jaymi Hensley (from boyband Union J) who gets to wear the famous coat of many colours in his first major musical role. He follows in the footsteps of a number of former X Factor stars who have appeared in this show over the years.
And while he might not have a huge wealth of theatre experience on his CV he might just be one of the best Joseph’s there has been.
Given that the show is told almost completely through song with very few lines of dialogue, the vocal performances need to be on point. Trina Hill has an excellent voice and gives a warm and engaging performance in the role of the Narrator as she helps the audience follow the story.
While you would expect Jaymi to have a good voice given his background, he completely blows the audience away with his vocal range which shines through on his emotionally raw performance of Close Every Door To Me, leaving the audience so captivated you could hear a pin drop.
he song list for Joseph includes an abundance of musical styles – from the Country and Western twang of One More Angel in Heaven to the calypso of Benjamin Calypso. There is also a very Elvis Presley inspired performance from Andrew Geater as Pharaoh on numbers such as the rock’n’roll Song of the King.
Of course, it wouldn’t be Joseph without a supporting cast of young children who provide the backing vocals for some of the show’s most well-known songs.
This new Bill Kenwright production of the show feels really slick with more up-to-date choreography from Gary Lloyd which really allows Joseph’s brothers to show off their dancing skills.
In a sea of new musicals that continue to pop up, Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat continues to entertain with one hit song after another. As the show comes to a close with the Joseph Megamix, it is clear why such a hugely fun and enjoyable musical still charms the audience to their feet time and time again.
© 2019 All Edinburgh Theatre.com
The songs still soar, the coat's still colourful but this 1970s musical feels of its time
After almost 50 years of performances, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat has found its way into many people's hearts. Its writers, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice come with the finest pedigree in the business, and the score packs in more genres than a record shop.
Yet throughout, you can't help but feel you're watching a school end of year production (which, given the amount of amateur productions this show has seen, is perhaps unsurprising). Entirely sung-through, the show's staging is relatively simple, so too the choreography, which needn't be a bad thing – but coupled with the bizarre (and on press night, malfunctioning) props leaves you wondering if this clever and catchy music doesn't deserve a more elaborate setting.
What elevates the production from school show to polished professionalism is the superb cast, who do indeed do Lloyd Webber and Rice's songs justice. It would be easy to make the assumption that a former ITV talent show contestant (X Factor) and boy band member (Union J) has been brought in purely as the token celebrity. Yet nothing could be further from the truth – Jaymi Hensley is a true musical theatre talent, with a full voice and passionate delivery.
A lot has changed since Joseph opened in the West End in 1973, and with shows such as Hamilton and Matilda now re-defining musical theatre, Joseph's coat (while resplendent on Hensley's back) feels a little faded.
© 2019 The List Ltd
I’ve heard plenty about the musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. My wife Marion loves it (particularly when Donny Osmond performed it but that’s another story) and I’m aware of how popular the show has become since it was first promoted at the Edinburgh International Festival away back in 1972. Tuesday evening at the Edinburgh Playhouse was my first experience of the show Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice collaborated on all those years ago.
The show tells the story of Joseph who has eleven brothers – and a coat of many colours – from the Bible’s Book of Genesis. The lead is played by Jaymi Hensley, not someone I’ve heard of, but he is a member of a pop band called Union J who, apparently, finished fourth in ITV’s The X-Factor in 2012. That still means little to me, but I have to say young Jaymi has a very powerful voice and performed the role of Joseph like he had been born to play it.
There is another strong performance and powerful voice from Trina Hill who plays the narrator and she used her considerable experience in musicals to great effect. Both Hensley and Hill clearly love playing their roles in Joseph and this shines through their impressive performances. There are also strong performances from Henry Metcalfe as Jacob/Potiphar and Andrew Geater as Pharaoh/Asher.
A rather short first act begins with Hill introducing Jacob and all his sons. Joseph is singled out by his father and this causes resentment among his siblings. The act ends strongly and there’s an energy and passion from the cast of players that is relentless even through the longer second act.
Many stage adaptations of classical stories have used ‘creative licence’ and Joseph is no different. Not having seen the show before my train of thought was derailed somewhat during the second act when an Elvis Presley look-alike appeared with a couple of songs which seemed like a tribute to the rock-and-roll legend. Now, this is fine in itself, but I remain oblivious as to where this sits in the story of Joseph. Likewise, the scene set in Paris with a silhouette of the Eiffel Tower at the back of the stage. I tried to ask Marion about the relevance of this, but she was far too engrossed in the show to answer my query…
If, unlike me, you’re aware of what the show is about already then you’ll be glad to hear the classic numbers such as Any Dream Will Do, Go, Go, Go Joseph, One More Angel in Heaven, Those Canaan Days and others are all part of the performance.
The show is produced by theatre legend Bill Kenwright and has a feelgood factor throughout. Jaymi Hensley has a hugely impressive singing voice and one can see a great future for him on the stage in musicals such as this. He is certainly deserving of the lead role in this production.
If you love your musicals (as Marion does) you’ll love this.
©2019 he Edinburgh Reporter
The new revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's Joseph is an exciting, energetic blast of colour, dance and action.
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat had its professional premiere as a 35-minute musical at the Edinburgh International Festival in 1972. Since then, the show – with lyrics by Tim Rice and music by Andrew Lloyd Webber – has grown and flourished, with several major revivals and national tours under its belt. Over the years a queue of famous faces have lined up to don Joseph’s colourful coat from Phillip Schofield to Gareth Gates to Jason Donovan.
Directed by Bill Kenwright and with additional new choreography by Gary Lloyd, this 2019 revival sees Union J star Jaymi Hensley take the reins as Joseph and breathe new life, energy and passion into this fast-paced production.
The story, guided throughout by the narrator (Trina Hill), is taken from the Book of Genesis and tells the tale of Joseph and his eleven brothers. The eleven brothers know that Joseph is their father Jacob’s favourite and are green with jealousy. When Jacob makes Joseph a special colourful coat, the brothers finally snap and take matters into their own hands, selling Joseph as a slave, and pretending to their father that he is dead. When Joseph ends up in prison in Egypt, all seems lost, until a dream or two sets him free.
Despite this production being Hensley’s first ever major musical role, he excels, armed with impressive vocal skills, confidence and magnetic stage presence. There's an injection of colour, pizzazz and humour through the choreography of the talented cast of brothers (the Skinny raises its beret to you both, Henry Metcalfe and Gary Lloyd). Their comical cowboy-style rendition of One More Angel in Heaven in particular steals the limelight, but numerous other moments raise laughs. On stage the Joseph Choir provided by ESMS Junior School are gifted, and add to the sense of an enchanting story unravelling before us.
Undeniably, the infectious and enduring nature of this musical is down to the memorable songs, from Go, Go, Go, Joseph to Any Dream Will Do, but it's also just a visual treat. Picture a kaleidoscope on stage – an exciting, energetic blast of colour, dance and action.
© 2019 Radge Media Limited.