Metro Radio Arena – until 31 December 2017
The posters proclaim that Joe is Joseph and what a magnificent Joseph he is.
After almost 400 performances this tour bows out at Newcastle’s Metro Radio Arena meaning that Joe McElderry can spend Christmas at home for the first time in 5 years and he has a 15 minute home to work commute.
McElderry leads the cast in the title role of Joseph and plays him perfectly. He has such likeability and outstanding vocals that come effortlessly in particular when singing Close Every Door, which shows a massive range of emotion and totally deserved the mid-show standing ovation, that it’s easy to get swept into the story and not want it to end. Trina Hill plays the Narrator and has that warm and familiar personal touch that lets you know it’s all going to turn out ok in the end as well as belting out some impressive vocals that elevate most of the songs that make this production very special. We get an equally as strong performance from previous Joseph alumni, Ben James-Ellis as the Elvis inspired Pharaoh and his breakout number where he explains his troubling dreams to Joseph was a total highlight.
But this is an ensemble piece and all the performers are excellent, Henry Metcalfe (Jacob) and the brothers – Joseph Peacock, Ben Beechey, Richard J Hunt, Craig Nash, Michael Colbourne, Michael Lapham, Matt Jolly, Will Breckin, Tatenda Madamombe and Adam Strong perform a variety of musical styles from calypso, to a tango, a hoe-down and in the case of Those Canaan Days a song that wouldn’t sound out of place being sung in a French wine bar by the Little Sparrow herself. All aided by Sallie-Beth Lawless, Anna Campkin and Gemma Pipe with Kevin Grogan swinging in when needed. With a choir of children harmonising beautifully.
The performers, the story, a beautiful set and dazzling costumes, it’s safe to say that this production packs a punch and has you dancing in the aisles. And a special mention must go out to the production staff and riggers who managed to build a magnificent movable set complete with flies in less than 48 hours
Joseph is 50 next year and it’s easy to see why it’s endured the test of time. Produced and Directed by the incredibly lovely Bill Kenwright, Tim Rice’s lyrics and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s music are so familiar it’s impossible not to sing along. From the overture to the Joseph Mega-mix ending, Joseph is the musical equivalent of putting on pyjamas and slippers, warm and comforting. I urge anyone who is feeling a little drab with the dark night’s and cold weather coming to see this uplifting production as you can’t help leaving the theatre with a huge smile on your face and enjoying a great musical classic