Chris Avant-SmithReview by Chris Avant Smith: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

Presented by: Pieter Toerien and the Really Useful Group

Directed by: Paul Warwick Griffin

Choreography: Duane Alexander

Set Design: Dennis Hutchinson

Musical Supervision: Charl-Johan Lingerfelder

Musical Direction: Louis Zurnamer

Lighting Design: Gareth Hewitt Williams

Costume Design: Niall Griffin

Earl Gregory as Joseph

Bianca Le Grange as the Narrator

And

Jonathan Roxmouth as Pharaoh

With: Dean Roberts, Kenneth Meyer, Sven-Eric Muller, Calvyn Grandling, Kent Jeycocke, Jarryd Nurden, Richard Gau, Kyle Jardine, Emil Haarhof, Michael McMeeking, Sonwa Sakuba, Emile Doubell, Mila De Biaggi, Thalia Burt, Venolia Manale, Louis Duhain, Darren Greeff and Stephen van der Walt.

This is the 20th production of Joseph that I have seen, I have memories of Alvon Collison, Bruce Miller and Richard Loring, and a chorus of nuns, incarnations with Ian Von Memerty and Bryan Schimmel (in a Mexican Hat), and of course teen heart throb Jason Donovan. The individual productions may have blurred slightly in the mists of time, but my overarching love for this particular piece remains un-dimmed.

Paul Warwick Griffin’s latest bonsai Joseph is a totally contemporary work. It is re-imagined, re-worked and really energetic. Having loved his previous treatment a couple of years ago, I was expecting a raunchy beefcake show, however this time there is much more subtlety in the re-working. Don’t get me wrong, there are hunks galore on stage, however this seems to be more about the performance and less about the eye-candy. Paul has managed to create a full on West-End Experience for the totally appreciative audience.

The production value is huge, and special mention to Dennis Hutchinson for his set with its lovely rake and interesting trapdoors. Niall Griffin’s costumes are stunning, and he really has an eye for detail. It is however Gareth Hewitt Williams’ lighting design that for me, gives this production so much additional value, he has taken lighting to a new level and it is really exciting.

Charl-Johan Lingerfelder and Louis Zurnamer have worked the music and give us a really contemporary feel.

Earl Gregory shines yet again as Joseph, to me he brings a new emotional depth to the role; his “Any Dream Will Do” sent me to my happy place.

Bianca Le Grange as the Narrator sings the role beautifully and she brings her musical pedigree to the fore. Unfortunately I felt that she was too subtle and low key in her presentation. This may be directorial but I felt the lack of a more “ballsy” performance.

I have said it before, that Jonathan Roxmouth inhabits every role that he takes on. His Elvis based Pharaoh is hysterically funny and the comedy timing brings great joy. Jonathan reads his audience incredibly well just as the “King” did, and his innuendo filled performance is really fun.

The ensemble is great, each member bringing nuances to their roles that I really enjoyed. I especially enjoyed Dean Roberts as Potiphar. On the night I saw the show, the swing, Stephen van der Walt performed, and I thought he handled the new track exceptionally well. I could go into detail about each of the ensemble cast individually, but I won’t. Suffice to say you guys rocked.

On a Thursday night the show was packed to the rafters and the audience loved every minute of it.

Even if you have seen the show before, see it again, it fits like an old slipper, it is so comfortable and good, yet sparkles like a new penny, (no mixed metaphor there)

See it, you won’t be sorry.

Written by Chris Avant Smith.