UK Tour Reviews & Interviews 2019
Wales Millenium Centre, Cardiff
14th May 2019
Patrick Downes

You’ll surely know the story of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour® Dreamcoat. If not…. where’ve you been? It’s a retelling of the Biblical story of Joseph, his eleven brothers and the coat of many colours.

From its origins in the late 60s to its revival in 1991 with Jason Donovan (then Phillip Schofield), this new touring production of Joseph certainly stands the test of time. It’s been one of my favourite musicals and that was only through listening to the 1991 cast recording, over and over. So, that aside. How does this fair?

Jaymi Hensley as Joseph is certainly a little powerhouse of a vocalist which belies his pop background of XFactor and Union J.

Trina Hill as the Narrator guides the audience through with a voice of great stature for someone so diminutive, and Andrew Geater as Elvis, err, Pharaoh manages to steal the second act.

Special mention though to the other cast/ensemble as I can’t remember the previous tour in 2016 being so rounded like this, as for the children – on stage throughout both acts, just brilliant! There’s more to what you may know of Joseph and it’s certainly worth a few hours of your time seeing it on this current tour.  A perfect entry into the world of musical theatre for anyone of ages 8 – 98

I think you should not “Close every door” and just “Go go go” see Joseph!

©SooFProductions 2019
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Pamela Raith    ©BKL Productions
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Wales Millenium Centre, Cardiff
14th May 2019
Ilona Cabral

Last night, the smash-hit Joseph and his Technicolor Dreamcoat rocked up on the shores of Cardiff Bay. Since its first presentation, as a 15-minute ‘pop-cantata’ at Colet court School in 1968, this show has been regenerated and reinvigorated countless times: from West End productions to the 1999 film-adaptation starring Donny Osmund. Through each interpretation, this story and soundtrack have become beloved by generations, and last night’s performance did not disappoint.

For those unfamiliar with the story, Andrew Lloyd Weber and Tim Rice’s musical is based on the “coat of many colours” story from the Bible’s Book of Genesis. It follows the story of Joseph, a dreamer/psychic who believes that he is destined for a greater purpose than his eleven shepherd brothers. These brothers become angered by their father’s blatant favouritism of Joseph and Joseph’s pious dreams and sell Joseph into slavery, inadvertently setting him onto the path towards greatness.

The musical is undoubtedly a masterpiece production, which keeps the audiences chuckling and jigging throughout through Weber and Rice’s ironic song choices and styles: it includes Elvis-esk rock songs, barnyard swing and ballads to name a few.

In this production Joseph was played by Jaymi Hensley, a member of the X-factor boyband, Union J. With his dancing talent and soaring, almost operatic, vocals it was difficult to believe that this was his first big musical show. It is certainly no mean feat to successfully bring something new to this iconic role, but Hensley did this, twisting the vocals to differentiate himself. However, I do feel that some of the raw emotion in the songs were lost due to his vocal acrobatics. For me, ‘Close Every Door’ is one of the most powerful songs in the production, showcasing Joseph’s despair and feeling of utter rejection from society, but Hensley’s version felt rather flat. Yet, I would say that his performances did become increasingly emotive in the second half of the show as he engaged more with the audience.

Meanwhile, staring out at the audience with over-dramatic gestures and emotive vocals, Trina Hill perfectly conveyed the role of the Primary School Narrator. She made every audience member feel like a child in her class as she led us all through this fantastic musical.

The staging was also highly skilled, with the choir of young children not so subtly arranged on the steps of the stage, to remind the audience of the narrative element of the show. Fabulous gaudy sets also reinforced the show’s 60s rock identity and blow up sheep and goats proved humorously used props.

Credit must also be given to the Choreographer, Henry Metcalfe, and designer, Dan Samson, for their toe-tapping routines and incredible costumes (including three Technicolor Dreamcoats!)

Throughout this show there was delicious sense of nostalgia but with a subtly re-vamped overlayer. For me, it did not quite reach the emotional intensity that prior performances had but, honestly, by the end you didn’t really mind – you were too busy dancing!

Regardless of the number of versions of Joseph produced, I don’t believe that this show could ever become too old or twisted for the audience not to beg for an encore!

©Cardiff Student Media
Wales Millenium Centre, Cardiff
15th May 2019
Dan Ellis and Brett Salway


Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s fascinating musical is back on the road and, has arrived in Cardiff.

The show follows Joseph, the favourite son of Jacob, after his eleven brothers sell him as a slave due to their jealousy of him receiving a technicoloured coat from Jacob. What follows is a rollercoaster of colourful dreams, leaving Joseph battling for his freedom.

This time around, the sensational Jaymi Hensley (from former X Factor band, Union J) got to wear the coat and, to say that he was simply outstanding would not do him justice. One has to experience the pure delight of his live vocals in order to appreciate his incredible talent.

The role of the narrator was played by Trina Hill, which was again a delight. She really oozed personality and her powerful vocals left an impact on the audience. It was quite interesting to see that the children on stage were fixated on her throughout the show, which is something I have not picked upon from previous productions. She really was captivating due to her presence and impressive vocal ability.

The role of Pharaoh is inspired by the king of rock ‘n roll himself, Elvis and, is very capably portrayed by larger than life chracter Andrew Geater. The audience loved his rendition of Elvis and WOW he could really move!

The stage is lit up with colour and fabulous costumes from start to finish. I was astounded by the sheer opulence of the set and it really made a huge impact on the audience and really added to the grandeur of this sensational show.

Having seen this show four times previously, I was quite apprehensive to see whether this production had something else to offer. It certainly did, and in my opinion, that was due to Jaymi’s pure class vocals. He defined the show from start to finish. In previous productions, I have seen the likes of Joe McElderry taking the main role (which was also incredible), but Jaymi left no stone unturned and took total control of the whole show. At times, one could describe his voice as being operatic, which was very impressive when experiencing his mellow and soft moments in other songs – terrific indeed.

The show is playing in the Millennium Centre until 18|05|19 and I would really urge everyone to go – just to experience the incredible vocals of Jaymi. 50 years on, and the show remains to please audiences across the UK. It really is a sheer delightful experience.

©Valley Times
Wales Millenium Centre, Cardiff
15th May 2019
Vicky Lord

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat has travelled back to Cardiff’s Millennium Centre after a three week tour break. I will be honest that I have not seen a production of Joseph live since I was very little. I remember seeing the show in Cardiff’s New Theatre with my mum as, I believe, Lewis who came fourth in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s TV quest for the new London Joseph, which discovered Lee Mead, was starring in the tour. However, this show was actually also my first experience of seeing an understudy as the actor who originally played Benjamin had to take over for Joseph and he was incredible. Beyond this, my main relationship with this show comes through the Donny Osmond and Maria Freedman film which was on repeat in my household ever since I can remember and still is today. So, I was coming to this show as a fan of the original production created by Webber and the creative team and know the material very well throughout the film but very curious to see it transferred back to the stage.

Jaymi Hensley stars in the tour as Joseph himself. Personally, I haven’t watched the X Factor properly for years, but the marketing around this show is going to ensure that you do not miss the fact that Hensley was part of Union J. Hensley has a very good, strong voice which is very well suited for a role so heavily reliant on the vocal staples of musical theatre. His belt during the final choruses of the show’s most famous songs easily fills the room and fits in well with even the sung dialogue and comedic moments. There really is a lovely powerful musical voice there. The issue comes when the marketing takes over during the show. There are some alterations to segments in the show, the most noticeable coming during ‘Close Every Door’, in which riffs are added into the songs which instantly took me out of the show as they sounded as if they had been taken from a pop song and I was aware of who I was watching and the creative decisions made which led to this. Personally, I think they should have left the Union J member label in perhaps the most vital of marketing but should have simply let Hensley sing the show as the show is designed for a musical theatre voice because he can do it, and do it very well without the alterations harking back to the marketing.

Trina Hill stars alongside Hensley as the Narrator. Personally, I love this role as it can be interpreted in so many different ways and Hill’s narrator was just so endearing. She has a very strong and clear voice and a subtly cheerful spark which instantly tells you exactly why she was chosen for the role. Hill’s portrayal is a very intricate one as she begins the show by telling a bedtime story but makes it clear throughout that she is deciding the presentation of the events. Joseph’s eleven brothers really are a highlight of this show. They work so well together, especially through their choreography, and lots of silent backing moments are added to expand on their relationship which was very greatly appreciated. Alex Hetherington was a particular favourite of mine as Benjamin as, without any speech, he conveyed the difficulties and naive hopes of one of the youngest bothers and the parallels in the brother’s treatment of both him and Joseph were very touching.

My main feeling toward this show is that it adds lots of touching and well thought through details, such as all of Benjamin’s acting and his brother’s treatment of him after Joseph has left, but the larger aspects of the production simply miss the mark. For example, the role of the Pharaoh has been shifted from an intimidating ruler who is a reference, through the style of his song, to the performance and musical style fo Elvis Presley is a straight Elvis Presley impersonation in this production. Following this, he has also received a new song int he style of a heartbreak ballad in which he mourns the loss of female attention now that Joseph is second in command. Personally, this song did not seem to blend into his characterisation and simply felt too long without a narrative purpose. It just felt like an odd inclusion. This production also suffered during the tense and dramatic moments of Act One, however, luckily these did not apply to the tense confrontation between Joseph and his brothers towards the end of Act Two. A traveling to Egypt segment was added which, in depicting the ill treatment of Joseph at the hands of the Ishmaelites which could have been very dramatic and tense, however, it is very undercut by humour including both a singing camel and Egyptian monument. It resulted in feeling that most aspects of this production which remained restively true to previous productions were done very well, but any additions simply did not blend into either the show as a whole or one particular tone.

I would also recommend this show as an example of excellent simplicity in lighting and set design. The production team behind the scenes are the ones who somehow add nearly all of the drama to moments including ‘There’s One More Angel in Heaven’ simply through a mostly static set and one main panel of altering light. The overall effect is very well done especially taking the sheer relative simplicity of the set into account and it really places the actors at the forefront.

Overall, I’ve given this production of Joseph four stars as I would highly recommend this production if you are looking for a brilliant night out or one of the first productions to take smaller children to. Within these two roles the show fits perfectly. However, I feel that for long term fans of the show who know the material very well and want to see intricate reimagining may not be so warmly receptive to some of the alterations made.

©Vicky Lord Reveiw
Wales Millenium Centre, Cardiff
15th May 2019
Cardiff Mummy

Two years ago, pretty much to the week, I took my eldest two children who were then aged 7 and 5 to see Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at Wales Millennium Centre (you can read our review here). They loved it so much that as we left the Donald Gordon Theatre we went straight to the merchandise stand and bought the soundtrack. We played and sang the songs from the show all the way home – and the music has been on constantly ever since.

Their enthusiasm rubbed off on their little brother, who was just three at the time they saw it, and he soon knew all the songs off by heart too. I promised him that next time the musical came to Cardiff, it would be his turn to see it. And last night, now aged 5, he got his chance as Bill Kenwright’s 2019 touring production arrived at Wales Millennium Centre for a week-long run of nine performances, including three on Saturday.

I’m pleased to report it was worth the wait for him as he loved it. His little eyes and face lit up throughout and he was so excited to finally see the songs he knew so well being performed live on stage.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is a great show for families, not least because it was created with children in mind. Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice originally wrote Joseph as a 15-minute show for a London school in 1968. It eventually became a full-scale musical premiering in the West End in 1973 and Broadway in 1982, but it’s also widely-performed by school and youth theatre groups (indeed, I was part of an amateur production in my early teens) and as a result is incredibly well known.

The musical is based on the story from the Biblical book of Genesis, and follows Joseph as his 11 brothers tire of him being their father’s favourite and sell him as a slave. His ability to decipher the meanings of dreams eventually sees him become the Egyptian Pharaoh’s second in command when he predicts a forthcoming famine and saves the nation. His starving brothers come to him to beg for food but as they don’t recognise him under his mask, he plays a trick on them to see if they have changed their wicked ways.

This production is very similar to the one we saw in 2017, with plenty of humour, a simple set enhanced by brilliantly evocative lighting and non-stop singing from start to finish. It’s a great show for families, with fun and lively musical numbers, an easy-to-follow storyline and nothing scary. And, at just over two hours including interval, it’s not too long for little ones to sit through either.

Jaymi Hensley, from boyband Union J, is the latest celeb to take on the iconic role of Joseph. He follows the likes of Donny Osmond, Joe McElderry, Lee Mead, and Phillip Schofield who have all worn the iconic loin cloth on stage, and of course Jason Donovan, who for women of my generation, will always be associated with the role. Sadly I never got to see Jason in the show itself but I loved his TV appearances performing iconic songs from the musical and played the cassette soundtrack constantly. Incidentally, Jason is about to return to Joseph in the West End but this time as Pharaoh.

I don’t know a single Union J song and never even saw them on the X Factor so had no idea what to expect from Jaymi – but he more than deserves the role. He adds a lovely depth of emotion to the character, in particular the scenes at the end of the show when he is reunited with his father Jacob (Henry Metcalfe). His rendition of the upbeat Any Dream Will Do is surprisingly moving.

The charismatic Andrew Geater takes on the role of Pharaoh, continuing the tradition of the role being played in the style of Elvis Presley. I’m not sure how many of the young children in the audience will understand this reference – although it’s a great way to introduce the music of the King to them – but he has the hip thrusting and uh-huhs down to a tee. One of his musical numbers, the lively Song of the King, is particularly well-received, with the stage filled with Egyptian-style American football players and cheerleaders as backing dancers. Not an especially accurate portrayal of Ancient Egypt, but – along with the French ballad-inspired Those Canaan Days sung by the brothers against a backdrop of the Eiffel Tower, the Country and Western One More Angel in Heaven and Benjamin Calypso – a fun way to introduce different styles of music to younger audience members.

Trina Hill is the narrator, the ever-present storyteller who holds the show together. She has such a beautiful voice with an incredible vocal range and makes the high notes seem effortless. She’s also very, very likeable and has some lovely interactions with the children’s choir – because it wouldn’t be Joseph without a big group of young singers on the stage. This group of 25 sit on the steps at either side of the stage throughout, helping with the narration and accompanying some of the bigger numbers.

Recognising just how well-loved the songs from Joseph are, the show finishes with a wonderful medley which has the entire audience up and singing along.

We left the theatre on a real high… and of course put the soundtrack on in the car on the way home, with my five year old commenting, “Mummy, that was brilliant. Can we see it next time it’s in Cardiff?”

Absolutely we can, my dear. Absolutely!

©2019 Cardiff Mummy Says
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Wales Millenium Centre, Cardiff
15th May 2019
Kick Back Times

A stage bathed in rich, vibrant hues of red and yellow and green and brown and scarlet and black and ochre and peach and ruby and olive and violet and fawn and lilac and gold and chocolate and mauve and … (you get the picture).. set the scene for a spectacular show at the Wales Millennium Centre last night.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat has always been a favourite musical of mine – ever since my sister performed in it in our school play at a local theatre many moons ago. I’ve loved the songs ever since and so was looking forward to a good old singalong.

Trina Hill was a magical and warm narrator; her amazing vocal range spanned from beautifully sweet and melodic to punchy and powerful.

And Jaymi Hensley from boyband Union J was a revelation as Joseph. With an almost operatic quality to his voice, mixed with some more contemporary nuances, he had great stage presence and gave memorable performances of Close Every Door, everyone’s favourite Any Dream Will Do and Who’s The Thief.

The band of back-stabbing brothers who sold Joseph into slavery sang beautifully together – akin to a male voice choir in places – and their dance moves were slick and energetic. Andrew Geater as Pharaoh did a cracking Elvis impression and there were a few laughs to be had along the way – not least down to the unruly inflatable sheep and some costumes that would have been more at home in a pantomime (yes, you, cavorting camels).

The show ended with everyone on their feet enjoying that singalong I’d been looking forward to. If you want a feel-good night out then you can catch Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff until 18 May.

©kick back times
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Wales Millenium Centre, Cardiff
16th May 2019
Rach Howells

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat was recently in the news announcing a new West End production, so hearing the current touring version was in Cardiff, I was excited to go.

The first Andrew Lloyd-Webber and Tim Rice musical to be performed publicly, the production retelling the Biblical story of Joseph, his 11 brothers and the coat of many colours, celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2018 and remains as enduring as ever.

Jaymi Hensley was outstanding as Joseph, playing him with a vulnerability and sweetness that makes the audience warm to him from the first moment he appears on stage.  Once he began singing, he impressed with the quality of his voice.

The show also features a narrator who stays on stage for most of the performance.  Trina Hill was likable in the role, managing to be in the centre of some scenes and perfectly blending into the background of others. 

A versatile show with so many different elements, Joseph almost the whole cast to have their moment in the spotlight but also feels cohesive as everything comes together in many scenes. 

The brothers have the best roles in the show as they can be seen doubling up to play other characters in other scenes.  The brothers highlight of the evening came in the song One More Angel in Heaven where the brothers are telling their father that Joseph has been killed by a goat, putting on a pretense of being sad before their father by pulling an endless array of faces.

Filled with favourite songs such as Go, Go, Go Joseph, Any Dream Will Do, Jacob and Sons and Close Every Door To Me, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat delivers smiles all evening.

©Entertainment South Wales
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Wales Millenium Centre, Cardiff
15th May 2019
Tom M

With the Wales Millennium Centre, approaching its 15th birthday, it’s been bashing out musical after musical and the place is livelier than ever before. In Joseph, we have a show that blows the socks off the competition.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (note the American spelling of colour) is a musical that retells a story from the Bible- specifically the Old Testament’s Book of Genesis. Even if you’re not a Christian or an avid Bible reader, the strange thing you may find is that the story is immediately, intensely familiar. This, I pondered, might be because the Bible is such a cornerstone of Western culture that many modern tales are derived from the stories of Jacob, Joseph, et al.

Joseph is one of 12 brothers, sons of Jacob. Having such a big family, Jacob was the founder of his own nation, and for a while the brothers happily worked the fields. All that is, except Joseph, who was aiming for a less vocational occupation and preferred to stand by his father’s side interpreting his prophetic dreams. The brothers got a bit sick of “Joe” being the favourite so they sold him into slavery!

This is where the musical really starts to deviate from the Bible quite a bit- Joe actually quite enjoys his time as a slave in Egypt, with musical numbers and dream interpretation aplenty. I won’t spoil the story any further- even if it is highly likely you know exactly what happens already!

The musical numbers are amazing. Whilst presided over by a motherly narrator, our protagonist Joe, his family, and his Egyptian acquaintances high and lowly work their way through the most flamboyant Bible retelling you will ever see. The sheer variety of musical styles boggles the mind, with frequent appearances of cowboy hats and Elvis outfits.  The script is hilarious too- did you think you’d ever hear someone in Biblical times describe an action as “beyond the pale”?

The cast are at the top of their singing (and dancing) game. The props are tight and often hilarious, the lighting is striking, the orchestra are on form. On the rare occasion it seemed like the characters were mumbling their words a bit, it turned out that was all part of the act- “Didn’t catch a few of those words? Want me to sing it one more time?”- and then the song is repeated in a different style which is slower and clearer. I was in stitches at this point- I’d been played.

As Joseph drew to a close, the Donald Gordon Theatre at the Wales Millennium Centre rose to a standing ovation. The cast were overjoyed that the people of Cardiff had come out to give them such a big welcome.

As far as big ticket musicals at the WMC go, we’ve had a few decent ones this year, but none come close to Joseph in this reviewer’s eyes.

©The Sprout
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Wales Millenium Centre, Cardiff
15th May 2019
Barbara Michaels

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat the musical returns to the stage con brio, with a plethora of well-known musical numbers, refreshed and rejuvenated with all its original pizzazz still in place.  The Biblical story of Joseph, betrayed by his jealous brothers and sold into slavery in Egypt, is told in song with the help of a narrator and some cracking dance numbers with added new choreography by Gary Lloyd.  Bill Kenwright’s touring production by special arrangement with the Really Useful Theatre Group pulls out all the stops, breathing new life into the musical, which originated as a concept album back in 1969, and since then staged both in the West End, on Broadway and all over the world.

This time around, the show provides a great opportunity for Union J’s Jaymi Hensley, whose first major musical role this is.  Hensley rises to the challenge, giving a young Joseph whose doubts in his own talent – of interpreting dreams, ultimately to save his life – are portrayed.  As Joseph matures and becomes a favourite with the Pharaoh whose slave he is, Hensley shows an admirable understanding of the role – and (as those familiar with The X Factor that spring-boarded his career will know) – he can certainly sing! Ah, those songs!  The melodic Close Every Door to Me and – making this hardened critic shed a tear – the heart-rending Any Dream Will Do, reprised when the story comes full circle at the end of Act II as the elderly and frail Jacob is reunited with his son. Pass the tissues, please!

There is comedy, too – the ironic Poor, Poor Pharaoh springs to mind – and some great comedic touches: the camels are hilarious!  (Well, you can’t have a desert without a camel).  Wisely, Kenwright and his team have remained faithful to the ‘goodies’ that play a major part in the ongoing success of this musical.   Among them Pharaoh, a white-suited Elvis look-alike played this time around with a style that fits by Andrew Geater.  That wonderful old-timer Henry Metcalfe doubles as the Egyptian potentate Potiphar who is Joseph’s mentor and as Jacob, the father left desolate when Joseph disappears from the family fold.

Amber Kennedy is a sexy Mrs. Potiphar, red-gowned and with a twinkle in her eye, as well as her feet. As for the brothers (11 of them) – talent here too, with some incredible dance moves from a group that includes the handsome Lewis Asquith, who doubles as the butler, and the lively Joshua Robinson who comes into his own in a Caribbean Calypso in the second half.  (A bit of poetic licence here!)  As the narrator, Trina Hill’s task is to link the story together – not the easiest of roles in this show, involving as it does popping up unexpectedly at times.  Hill’s diction is clear but her voice can at times tend towards shrillness in the higher register.

Very much a family show, this musical ticks the boxes on so many fronts, not least of these being Sean Cavanagh’s stunning scenery, with exotic historical references such as sphinxes and pyramids towering overall, aided and abetted by Nick Richings’ skillful lighting.

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Hippodrome, Darlington
21st May 2019

Tuesday nights are boring right? A cup of tea, an episode of your favourite TV show and an early night. That’s how most of my Tuesdays look these days. However, that certainly wasn’t true for me tonight.

Oh no.

I had been lucky enough to be invited along to Darlington Hippodrome to see Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. This was a fast paced and energetic production that had me dancing in my seat (even on a school night). It’s hard not to be swept up in the enthusiasm of the cast as they tell a biblical story with a modern twist. It’s funny, punchy and down right catchy.

This is, in part, due to the phenomenal talent on stage. I was blown away by the chorus of brothers and chuckling to myself whenever they performed together. The narrator, expertly portrayed by Trina Hill , brilliantly guided us through the wonderful insanity with a knowing smile. Add to that a truly astounding performance by Jaymi Hensley as Joseph and you have a winning combination. His performance of Close Every Door was sheer perfection and a clear indicator of his incredible artistic talent.

The costumes, staging and sound all at one thing in common: they were brilliantly extravagant. In fact, if I had to some up this entire show in one word, I would choose that one and I mean that with the highest compliments. This production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat aimed for the wow factor and it confidently delivered. There was no part of this show that held back and I was blown away by the energy that blasted from the Hippodrome stage.

Ultimately, this was an upbeat family show that I dare you not to enjoy. I was dancing away and I have a funny feeling I’ll be singing the songs for days to come, admittedly with far less talent than this fantastic cast. It was far from forgettable, with a confidence and commitment to delivering a phenomenon that had me hooked. I bet it will do the same to you too.

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Hippodrome, Darlington
21st May 2019
What's On Darlington

It was “go, go, go Joseph”, as Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s sparkling family musical visited Darlington Hippodrome on Tuesday, May 21st, 2019.

Set in the biblical land of Caanan, Joseph & The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat tells the story of Joseph, the favourite son of Jacob, who is gifted a multi-coloured coat, much to the envy of his eleven brothers.

In Bill Kenwright’s latest tour of the much-loved production, Jaymi Hensley follows in the footsteps of Jason Donovan, Lee Mead and Joe McElderry to don the famous dreamcoat of many colours.

Having risen to fame on “The X Factor” as part of boyband Union J, Hensley proves why he was the perfect choice for the role. His versatile acting and singing abilities are evident throughout, as he manages to inject his cheekiness into the more lively numbers, whilst adopting a serious tone for a haunting performance of “Close Every Door To Me”.

Equally as impressive is Trina Hill as the Narrator, who ensures the production flows smoothly between scenes. Her high-spirited personality beams through in her performance and she has a stunning vocal range to match.

As for the supporting cast, Henry Metcalfe (whose association with the musical goes back over three decades) makes an excellent Jacob/Potiphar and Andrew Geater is very well suited to the role of Pharaoh. Likewise, Joseph’s brothers provide the vast majority of the humour, injecting an abundance of charisma and energy into their respective roles.

It wouldn’t be a production of Joseph & The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat without the iconic soundtrack, comprising of audience favourites such as “Jacob & Sons”, “Joseph’s Coat” and “Any Dream Will Do”.

Each of the feel-good numbers is sang to an extremely high standard with flawless vocals and bright, colourful costumes to match. Meanwhile, the raw, more downbeat numbers are sang with exceptional power and emotion, beautifully enhanced by the children’s choir and the orchestra led by Jeremy Wootton.

With the original production of Joseph & The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat about to mark its 50th anniversary, this is a musical that shows no sign of stopping. A must-see.

©What's On Darlington
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Hippodrome, Darlington
22nd May 2019
Fairy Powered Productions

Way way back many centuries ago (well 35 years!), Joseph was the first ever musical I saw.   Which instilled in me a lifelong love of both theatre and of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

So, having seen the show many times, I was thrilled to see the best version of Joseph that I have ever seen.  Currently on tour and in Darlington this week.

Written by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber in 1968, Bill Kenwright directs Jaymi Hensley in the title role of Joseph.  Hensley is outstanding, lyrically versatile and immensely likeable. His vocals were outstanding for Close Every Door, showing a huge range of emotions and he seemed to be genuinely enjoying himself in the role. 

Trina Hill carries the show in her role of Narrator, seamlessly singing the parts of the show together.  She’s sweet without being saccharine with some belting vocals. Henry Metcalfe returns to play Jacob, the father of Joseph and 11 more incredible versatile and good looking son’s – Alex Hetherington, Arthur Boan, Ed Tunningley, Lewis Asquith, George Beet, Mikey Jay-Heath, Matt Jolly, Corey Mitchell, Joshua Robinson and Callum Connolly.  Andrew Geater dual roles as brother Asher and the fabulous Elvis-esq Pharaoh. The handmaidens Amber Kennedy, Anna Campkin and Gemma Pipe help move the plot portraying wives, Ishmaelites and camels. With help from the Joseph Choir of around 30 children who stay sitting on the stage throughout the performance.

There are many different styles of tune – rock, pop and calypso to name a few.  The choreography by Henry Metcalfe and Gary Lloyd is stunning – especially the tango during Those Canaan Days

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is now over 50 years old but shows no sign of ageing.  The songs are all incredibly familiar from the overture to the famous Joseph Mega-mix at the end it’s impossible not to sing along.

With a standing ovation and an encore that goes on forever, expressive singing of well written songs, comic interaction and spellbinding performances make this a show not to be missed. 

©Fairy Powered Productions
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Hippodrome, Darlington
22nd May 2019
Andy Bramfitt

Back once again like a renegade master, this timeless classic has been revamped for the modern age, a High Def version if you like and, as one would expect from a show which centres on such a range of colours, it really benefits from the use of 'new age' technology and choreography.

The story of the Lloyd Webber /Rice musical collaboration is probably as well known as the biblical story of Joseph itself; for many it is their first foray into musical theatre either as a child on a school trip or playing a part in a school production.  As such, as you settle into your seat and the first few bars of the opening overture build, there is a comforting warmth of knowing contentment, but with this comes the danger that familiarity breeds contempt.  Well, fear not, for this production is as fresh and dazzling as a first year show trying to get an extension.

Jaymi Hensley (who found his fame as a member of pop group Union J) has a hard act to follow, the alumni of previous Josephs reads like a who’s who of musical theatre but, after 30 years of watching, it is my opinion that his is the best performance I have ever seen.  Naive at the start, powerful and confident by the end, he takes the audience through Joseph’s journey from young boy to kings confidante with complete believability.  His renditions of the two standards, Any Dream and Close Every Door are given real depth, emotion and gravitas, breathing new meaning into the words and, even after 30 years, surprising with the feelings they stir  - the bar is now set super high for any future wannabees Joes.

Trina Hill as the narrator is inspired; Hill takes centre stage regardless of where she stands, has all eyes on her without demanding any attention and has the perfect voice to tell the story.  This is one of the hardest roles to perform in musical theatre, it needs verbal gymnastics linked to an impeccable memory to keep track of all the brothers and colours, there needs to be sympathy, empathy, passion and no small amount of humour, it all has to be kept within the frame of being a storyteller and Hill manages it with aplomb.

The rest of the supporting cast have boundless energy, which is just as well as Gary Lloyd has the choreography turned up to 11.  Flappers, cowgirls, vamps, Frenchmen and of course, camels, all test the repertoire and all are fabulously performed with no shortage of humour – there is plenty of references to other musical theatre, pop culture and even a cameo by Jersey Boys.  Nick Richings’ lighting design is particularly worthy of mention, never have the colours been so pure, so vibrant and clear - High Def theatre for the High Def era.

So, for lifelong fans and new additions to the Joseph family, get your tickets, warm up your camel and head on down to the Hippodrome but be prepared not to leave early, the cast clearly love what they do and respond to the audience demands for encores; with standing ovations guaranteed at every performance you're going to get at least 3 additional numbers at the end. 

©The View from The Cheap Seats
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Hippodrome, Darlington
22nd May 2019
Emma - The Freckled Mum of 2

Lily and I had a brilliant evening watching the marvellous cast of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat on Tuesday. A production that had the audience enthraled from the get-go.  I’ve never known time go so quickly at the theatre as it did last night, with this fast-paced, family-friendly musical.

Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s great family musical Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is touring once again and we are lucky enough to have  Darlington’s Hippodrome host Bill Kenwright’s ‘ production from Tuesday 21st May to Saturday 25th May.

Retelling the Biblical story of Joseph his eleven brothers and the coat of many colours, this magical musical is full of unforgettable songs including Go, Go, Go Joseph, Any Dream Will Do, Jacob and Sons, Close Every Door To Me and many more. You can’t help but sit toe-tapping and having little bit of a sing-along!
With the only pitfall being self-inflating sheep who fail to rise to the occasion early in the evening the talented cast more than makeup for it! A live band and choir alongside stand out vocals from Trina Hill who plays the Narrator and Jaymi Hensley as Joseph makes for a captivating evening of entertainment.  Trina and Jaymi both equally hold the audiences gaze effortlessly and perform impeccably throughout.

Then there is the brilliant dance choreography, the brothers will surprise and delight you! The whole cast brings the stage to life in so many other ways throughout, with many laugh out loud moments.

It was a feast for the eyes as the stage is adorned with lavish decoration throughout the evening, leading up to a magnificent explosion of colour with the amazing technicolour coat. The cast finishes the evening with an energetic encore with the audience on their feet dancing, clapping along and rapturous applause.

Lily Aged 10 – ‘It was amazing so colourful and fun, I loved it!’

If you live for musicals you will love Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

I did catch a glimpse of a child enthusiastically bouncing around through the crowd (literally must have been jumping), clearly having the best evening which really made me smile, the joy was beaming from her whilst her eyes fixed on the stage!

Lily was not so energetic and when I questioned her lack of jumping around this morning, apparently, it was due to me being so embarrassing when I’m dancing, she’s probably right! My eldest has clearly grown up and no longer finds her mum cool! Alas, we still had a great night out and I’m sure I’ve still earned some mum points for taking her along to indulge in her love of musicals and watch this fantastic, joyful production of Joseph.

©The Freckled Mum of 2
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Opera House, Blackpool
29th May 2019
Kim Bickerdike

I first went to the theatre to watch Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat when I was a child and I loved it. When I heard the production was touring and coming to Blackpool, I was excited and a bit intrigued to see this musical extravaganza and hoped I would love it as much as I did over 20 years ago.

The atmosphere was buzzing in the charming Blackpool Opera House and the audience was diverse with groups, couples, men, women, young and old which demonstrates just how timeless this show is and how musical theatre is enjoyed by people from all walks of life.

The show begins and straight away we are treated to a musical and visual sensation. Based on the biblical story of Joseph, found in the Book of Genesis this show is set in the land of Canaan and Egypt and follows Joseph, his father Jacob and eleven brothers who are a family of shepherds. The opening act features plenty of classic hits written by Andrew Lloyd Webber including ‘Any Dream Will Do’ ‘Jacob and Sons’ ‘Poor, Poor Joseph’ and many others. The audience sang along then whooped and cheered at the end of each song.

We meet Joseph straight away who is played by Jaymi Hensley. Jaymi was a member of the boyband Union J who featured on the X Factor. I’m not familiar with Jaymi’s work but his performance as Joseph was superb. He had a strong vocal performance throughout and got the audience on their feet during the finale, where he belted out a Joseph megamix and looked as if he was enjoying every second on stage. His standing ovation at the end of the show was well deserved and this was definitely the perfect role for him.

The show is narrated musically throughout by Trina Hill who sang all of her songs beautifully and clearly and was very engaging in the way she told the story. Trina was supported by a choir of children who sit to the side of the stage during the whole show and join in many of the songs. Their young voices added a really nice element to the performance and again, they looked as if they were really enjoying themselves which was lovely to see.

The show lasts approximately 2 hours but the time goes so quickly. It is jam packed with classic songs, upbeat dances, bright and varied set changes and a fantastic cast who performed their socks off. The tickets are great value for money and I would recommend every heads to Blackpool to catch this show before it is too late. Thank you to all of the cast for a brilliant evening, I played the amazing soundtrack on the way home and could watch this show again and again!

A five-star performance all round.

Opera House, Blackpool
30th May 2019
Kirstie Niland

A crash of drums, a flash of light…and Union J band member Jaymi Hensley has become a musical theatre star. In his first ever major stage role he’s receiving well-deserved rave reviews for his sensational performance alongside the fabulous cast of Joseph.

With polished acting and superb vocals – Close Every Door is breath-taking – Jaymi is surely destined for the West End. In interviews before the show he talked about meeting Jimmy Osmond and Joe McElderry who've played Joseph before him, saying: “I’ve never felt I’m more in the right place at the right time than I do right now.”

A crash of drums, a flash of light…and Union J band member Jaymi Hensley has become a musical theatre star. In his first ever major stage role he’s receiving well-deserved rave reviews for his sensational performance alongside the fabulous cast of Joseph.

With polished acting and superb vocals – Close Every Door is breath-taking – Jaymi is surely destined for the West End. In interviews before the show he talked about meeting Jimmy Osmond and Joe McElderry who've played Joseph before him, saying: “I’ve never felt I’m more in the right place at the right time than I do right now.”

From the audience reaction it would appear that thousands of fans agree, giving Jaymi and the cast a standing ovation at the opening night in Blackpool.

Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s cult show never gets old, and Bill Kenwright’s production provides the anticipated kaleidoscope of bright colours shining, with a spectacular set and costumes, high energy choreography and an excellent Elvis/Pharaoh (Andrew Geator) who, like Jaymi, is wonderful and new.

The vast Opera House stage offers the space to create magnificent Canaan and Egyptian backdrops, complete with sheep – including an especially “sheepish” one that kept falling asleep on the job, much to the delight of the audience.

As the narrator, Tina Hill’s powerful singing carries us through the ups and down of this biblical tale, subtly highlighting the drama and punctuating the proceedings with favourite comedy moments: “don't give up Joseph, fight till you drop we've read the book and you come out on top.”

The brothers are full of character and energy, creating the perfect motley crew; and the children’s choir is lovely, with all singers sitting very still throughout.

One of my favourite scenes is between Jaymi and his stage father Henry Metcalfe who create a beautifully touching scene when Joseph and Jacob are reunited, before Joseph takes final command of the stage in all his technicolour glory.

I would highly recommend catching this feelgood roller-coaster show.

©Uk Theatre Network
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Grand Theatre, Leeds
June 2019
Sandra Callard

The country is old Caanan in Galilea, and once again the eleven scheming and jealous brothers (bar one) of Joseph are up to their tricks in the musical that theatre-goers never seem to tire of, Joseph and The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. This time the gloriously-robed Joseph is played by a relative newcomer, the excruciatingly-spelt Jaymi Hensley, and the tough and demanding role of the Narrator is sung by Trina Hall.

Joseph is a non-stop, crowded and colourful jamboree. It has humour and sadness, tragedy and joy, and the wonderful early, and possibly best, music that Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice ever wrote. The conspiratorial brothers deliver outstanding performances, and somehow win the hearts of the audience in spite of their naughty stuff.

“Glorious at times”

The numerous scenes change rapidly with very little effort, as the locations are represented swiftly and easily by one or two significant props; a goat swiftly being dismembered, some wonderful blow-up sheep, or a camel’s head representing a desert caravan. The basic large scenery is static, and the additional and amusing props quickly set the upcoming scene.

The well-known story of a favourite son, Joseph, being sold into slavery by his jealous brothers is cleverly and succinctly told, and Hensley carries off the part with relative ease and a few stumbles. His voice is good, even glorious at times, but small failings such as his voice dropping at the end of a phrase making the words inaudible, are annoying. He strikes a good dramatic effect bodywise, despite occasionally – and rather charmingly – coming across as a little too gentle.

“Wonderfully naff”

Trina Hall offers a sustained and polished role as the Narrator. On stage almost 100% of the time, her voice only lost its bell-like quality towards the end of the show, when the strain began to show and her voice lost some of its purity.

One of the best comedy parts in Joseph has always been the Pharaoh. His appearance is large, loud and wonderfully naff. Usually dressed in the full Pharoah regalia, including headress and Egyptian beard as appears on images of Tutankhamun, he then assumes the persona of Elvis Presley and belts out some great songs, swivelling hips and trembling lip galore.

However, this time Pharaoh, played by Andrew Geater, is attired quite normally and accomplishes an excellent Elvis, both physically, facially and vocally, but the lack of the Pharaoh costume is a bit of a let-down. Geater, however, has an excellent voice, both as an Elvis impersonator and when singing in his own voice. He is a tall and handsome man, maybe too much so for a droll comedy part, but his singing is exemplary.

“A theatre phenomenon”

A couple of the smaller roles caught my attention. Joseph’s father, Jacob, beautifully played by Henry Metcalfe with a moving and poignant dignity, makes a significant contribution. And the youngest son, Benjamin (played by Alex Hetherington), a full brother to Jacob, who took no part in the crimes of his elders, also put his minor, but solid, stamp on the musical. I watched his face as he realised with joy who the important man at the court of the Pharoah actually is, and it could have stood tall in a Shakespeare play.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat is a theatre phenomenon. It premiered 51 years ago in 1968 and has had revival after revival. It fills theatres with no problem, and the perpetual anticipation of the curtain call and sing-along with hands clapping, heads bobbing and an audience that knows every word of the songs, is intoxicating. Carry on Joseph!!

©On Magazine 2019
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Grand Theatre, Leeds
4th June 2019
Paul Clarke

It is sometimes easy to forget this old stager of a musical is actually still completely bonkers as two young upstarts threw the kitchen sink at their first work essentially inventing the rock musical.

Before pomposity took over Andrew Lloyd Webber proved he could effortlessly switch styles from straight rock to calypso and surreally a country and western number. They may be pastiches but they are so clever that feel utterly authentic. Throw in Tim Rice’s precociously witty lyrics, retelling the story of Joseph from the Book of Genesis who fights his way out of slavery in ancient Egypt because he can interpret dreams, and you can see why this smash hit from 1973 has been performed by more than 20000 school and amateur groups.

The formula is pretty much bombproof as this big venue is rammed with fans young and old wallowing in Sean Cavanagh’s sumptuous set, and some big numbers including the show’s one stone cold showstopper, Any Dream Will Do. So good it was performed twice.

In an attempt to freshen things up former boyband star Jaymi Hensley makes his musical theatre debut as the slave turned ruler making the switch from the X Factor to the stage with great confidence. Unlike some other talent show migrants he did train at stage school deploying a really big voice that could have done with dialling back at times. There’s not much acting in this role - and to honest Joseph is such an obnoxious prig I’m not surprised his brothers sold him into slavery as I would have done - but Hensley does his best with the limited options, and has a big stage future.

Given the number of brothers Joseph has by necessity a big cast, and the male ensemble are on it all night tackling the occasionally cheesy choreography with great gusto, even when it didn’t quite move the story on. Their solos and harmonies lifted the countrified One More Angel in Heaven, barmy Parisian torch ballad These Canaan Days and a lively if dated Benjamin Calypso.

As this is a sung through musical the narrator is a central role making sure the audience can follow the story through the mayhem. Trina Hill reprises the role and her strong singing voice helps make some sense of the daft plot, with some lovely interplay with a well drilled junior choir provided by Heckmondwike’s Stuart Stage School. You’d have your sense of humour surgically removed not to enjoy Andrew Geater’s snake hipped rock ‘n’ roll romp as Pharaoh Presley.

As well being a legendary impresario Bill Kenwright has done plenty of directing for Lloyd Webber amongst other greats, and you can’t have produced as many big shows as he has without knowing a thing or two about how to mould a cast. He takes his young charges under his wing with a sure touch, although it could have gone down notch or two at times, but this may be a show where there is no top to go over.

A full house and a standing ovation dispels any cynicism about whether we need yet another tour of Joseph, but it makes you a little sad that the Lennon and McCartney of musical theatre no longer work together because when they did they made magic.

©North West End 2019
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Grand Theatre, Leeds
5th June 2019
Kristian Johnson

One and a half thousand people were on their feet, clapping, wooping and applauding.

On stage, the entire crew and cast were blown away by the response. Jaymi Hensley, the star of Joseph and Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, was taken aback, puffing his cheeks out as he took in the adulation of the Leeds Grand Theatre crowd, before ratcheting up the volume even further.

"Who wants one more?" he asked, knowing full well what the answer would be.

We'd already had an hour and a half of hits, swirling dances and stunning sets, but the crowd weren't quite ready to go home just yet. Just a few more minutes, they pleaded.

Jaymi Hensley a rip-roaring success as Joseph

Hensley is treading in stratospherically big footsteps in the lead role, following the likes of Donny Osmond, Jason Donovan and even Philip Schofield in wearing the technicolor dreamcoat.

There were no signs of the rainbow rags weighing down on his shoulders though.

His performance as Joseph was remarkable throughout, and there were more than a few dazzling moments when he showcased his extraordinary vocal talents. Narrator Trina Bell's singing range was equally first-class.

The plaudits don't stop there, though.

Joseph's assembled cast of 11 brothers mixed angry, jealous tirades with funny French ditties, with a bit of Caribbean flavour thrown in for good measure, with a superb version of Benjamin Calypso. There were even a couple of good old-fashioned Yorkshire references.

Andrew Geater's striking twist on the Pharoah as Elvis kickstarted the second half at a runaway pace that continued throughout the rest of the simply must-see musical.

And just wait for the show-stopping finale. Not only is the fanned-out coat a sight to behold, but there's also another blockbuster move that brought gasps and laughter from the crowd.

I'll be the first to admit that I'm not a musical fanatic - so I checked with others as I left to see whether Leeds show really was as spectacular as I thought.

The response was overwhelming. Those sat around me must have seen every single adaptation of the musical ever produced and they were all in unequivocal agreement - this was easily one of the best they'd ever seen.

The opening night on the Leeds leg of the UK tour was a roaring success from start to finish.

© 2019
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Derby Theatre
19th June 2019
Kathryn Mcauley

After 45 years, you might think a musical would lose its shine, but there’s something about Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat that still lights up an audience. Tonight’s performance at Derby Theatre is testament to that, with a capacity crowd giving a standing – or rather, dancing – ovation.  This is a sparkly unicorn of a show, brimming with energy, bursting with colour, and verging on the fantastical.

The biblical story of Joseph, the favourite son of Jacob and talented interpreter of dreams, is a well known one, thanks primarily to the musical. But it is a story that everyone can relate to: the family tensions, the bullying by his older brothers. Alright, the exiling and dream-reading may not be everyday for most of us, but we all love an underdog who comes out on top. Its longevity lies in the skill of Andrew Lloyd-Webber and Tim Rice in creating catchy and witty songs, echoing many well-known musical styles, and not taking themselves too seriously.

The Narrator tells the story, and in this production is played by Trina Hill as a sort of magical, favourite teacher, rather like Mary Poppins without the strict bits. It’s a hugely demanding role, as not only does she have to actually explain the whole story and make it discernible to the audience, it’s mostly done at the most extraordinarily high pitch. Hill somehow makes it seem effortless, moving from a breathy whisper to full on belt and everywhere in between, with ease and grace. Her expression is so natural and warm, you want to invite her round for tea.

In this Bill Kenwright touring production, Joseph is played by Jaymi Hensley.  Hensley follows in the tradition of casting a ‘pop’ singer in the role and is a member of Union J, X-Factor contestants in 2012, which may explain some of the adoring screaming in the audience.  Hensley has a powerful singing voice, well controlled and suited to the role, and portrays the ‘otherness’ of Joseph through his demeanour and rather upper-class delivery.  He has good comedy timing, and the comic element is maximised throughout.

Another tradition in the show is a children’s choir, and on this occasion, it is provided by local group The Attic Theatre School.  Principal Amanda Grimsey must be very proud of this talented and disciplined group, who deal with close sung harmonies, synchronised actions and lots of sitting still, extremely well.  They sound delightful.

What really rips the stage up and set’s it alight, though, is the joy brought to it by ‘The Brothers’.  Each new song brings on higher levels of energy, more ambitious choreography and so much sass!  These boys embrace the camp outfits and the tongue in cheek lyrics, and wring every ounce of enjoyment out of every song.  I could not wipe the grin off my face every time they performed a big dance routine, thanks to choreographer Gary Lloyd.

With its panoply of well-known songs, such as Any Dream Will Do, Close Every Door and One More Angel in Heaven, ‘Josephs’ popularity seems guaranteed.  The audience, from grandparents down to the youngest children, clearly love the show.  This touring version is chock full of vitality and takes the idea of ‘technicolour’ to a whole new level.  It’s a kaleidoscopic rainbow of musical theatre dreams.

© 2019
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Regent Theatre, Ipswich
27th June 2019
Editor of Grapevine Live

Click on the link to read the great review!
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Regent Theatre, Ipswich
27th June 2019
Abi Mayes

Joseph’s penchant for being a dreamer gets him into trouble with his brothers when he predicts that they will bow to him, making them jealous.

Family friendly with something for everyone, Joseph is the perfect musical for all ages to enjoy. A strong cast lead the show with Union J’s Jaymi Hensley as the titular Joseph lending his vocals to a stand out and emotional performance of Close Every Door to Me in his first major musical role and the Narrator, Trina Hill, who’s fairy like voice compliments her performance as she gently guides the audience through the story, and being on stage for most of the show her energy never lacks.

There are plenty of laughs to be found in this musical telling of the biblical story, and references aplenty to Elvis with Joseph’s own Rock’n’Roll Pharaoh, Andrew Geater, who’s dreams have got him baffled in Song of the King, an upbeat Elvis like tune, with 1950’s America vibes.

With a large cast often filling the stage, the production is cleverly choreographed utilising every space, with additional new choreography by Gary Lloyd. Full of catchy and unforgettable songs including Go, Go, Go Joseph, Any Dream Will Do and many more, Joseph’s soundtrack is a vibrant and colourful as the coat.

©Ipswich24 Magazine 2019