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Review: Books, Theatre, Albums, Movies and Gigs

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

Liverpool Empire Theatre

Director / Producer: Bill Kenwright
Cast: Craig Chalmers, Keith Jack, Henry Metcalfe, Wayne Smith, Chris Barton,
Eve Marchant, David Grace, Chris Dilley.

Tuesday February 26, 2008

Image: Promotional image forJoseph and his amazing technicolor dreamcoat

Any Dream Will Do, last year’s BBC phenomenonal success in reality TV that is set to spawn other variants, saw Lee Mead victorious for the coveted role of Joseph in the West End. Hardly surprising when you consider he’d worked in theatre all his life and was desperate to be noticed. Now, with the show done and dusted, it’s time for the runners up to make a name for themselves, with Craig Chalmers and Keith Jack making it to the final, and with Wayne Smith going far in ITV’s Grease Is The Word, the time is ripe for a Boy Band to take Joseph on tour and so spin out some sales for the new album from the Dream On boy-band formed by Bill Kenwright.

Lots of screaming teenagers filled the auditorium, with throngs hanging around the stage door pre-show, whereas inside almost every seat was taken.

Such is the power of TV.

So, the show? Well, to be fair, twelve months seems to have flown past since this was last staged here and perhaps hindsight gives a distorted view. Last year with Jonathan Parkin was superb and although it was the same production in essence this time around, this production seemed somehow a little flat with the central characters appearing just a little tired.

Keith Jack in the role of Narrator – the central axis around which the plot unfolds – although a competent vocalist, needs to learn a stage presence that can captivate a little more and preferably find a role more suited to males rather than females. It’s always been my understanding that the Narrator was supposed to be a primary school teacher and, although not exclusively female territory, it has always been more “comforting” for someone like Amanda Claire to be in the role.

As for Craig Chalmers, he was okay but again needs to learn a presence and range that Lee Mead clearly has and one that is only gained through experience.
Wayne Smith, however, is well down the road to finding that star quality if this display as Pharoah is anything to go by, as his is easily the most interesting performance as the ancient ruler becomes Elvis and shimmy-shakes his way through his recounting of his dream brilliantly.

All in all, this is an okay production and the backing cast are all extremely energetic and capable, it has to be said. Perhaps shaking the fizzy pop of energy before going onstage might work next time though, especially from the “Star” performers, although the hundreds of kids surrounding me will all disagree entirely.

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“Writing gets me away for a while' from this world and into one where I, alone, can make or
break the rules as I see fit.” - Chris High 2003.
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