The Grand, Leeds – until 23 July 2022
Reviewed by Kirsty Thomson
As a lover of musical theatre, I was beyond excited to see Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at The Grand in Leeds. After having watched the 1999 direct-to-video film version of the musical many times as well as a previous touring version, my expectations were high, but the show was everything that I thought it would be, and more.
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is based on the story of Joseph from the Bible’s Book of Genesis. It is a story of Jacobs favourite son, Joseph, and his eleven brothers. After being given a multicoloured coat from Jacob, Joseph is sold by his angry and jealous brothers to be a slave. Joseph works for a rich Egyptian man named Potiphar but is thrown in jail after being caught in a compromising position with Potiphar’s wife after she tries to seduce him. While in jail, Joseph discovers his skill for interpreting dreams leading him to interpret the Pharaoh’s dreams. Consequently, he becomes Pharoah’s ‘number two’ and ends up reuniting with his family when they come begging for food in the famine.
The lyrics by Tim Rice and music by Andrew Lloyd Webber are well known by many and always guarantee to have you singing the songs all the way home. Laurence Connor’s version of the show is energetic and fun, incorporating more humour than previous versions. It also includes significantly more dance breaks, fantastically choreographed by Joann M. Hunter for a modern twist on the musical. I also noted that compared to the previous tour, where the children’s chorus have a more passive role and spend much time sat on steps on the stage, Laurence Connor had them playing principle roles such as Potipher, the baker and the butler, which are usually played by adults. I found this incredibly effective, and it certainly added another feature of humour.
Jac Yarrow was absolutely sensational as Joseph and his extreme raw talent and fantastic vocals make it clear as to why he was nominated for the 2020 Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical. Linzi Hately gave a huge amount of energy to her role as The Narrator, stringing together the whole performance and keeping the audience involved. A special mention must be made for Jason Donovan (the original Joseph) for his very fun Elvis inspired role as Pharoah.
One musical number that stuck with me was the fantastic rendition of Those Canaan Days where the drama and energy of the eleven brothers on stage was phenomenal.
At the end of the performance, the audience were on their feet clapping along to a final mega-mix, with streamers falling from the ceiling and not one audience member left without a huge grin on their face.