In its 50th year Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is another long term success for Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice and this time the Nottingham Operatic Society are bringing their own version to the stage as they too celebrate an Anniversary.
I thought most people have seen or at least know this story but I discovered my friend I was bringing along didn’t – so for anyone else in the dark – Joseph is the favourite of Jacobs 12 sons living in Canaan. The brothers are jealous of Joseph and plot to murder him but at the last minute sell him into slavery and off to Egypt brother Joseph goes. A rocky start lands Joseph in prison but the Pharaoh soon learns of Joseph’s ability to interpret dreams and makes him his number 2. As Joseph rises into great power his brothers visit Egypt to beg for food. Not recognising their brother, Joseph decides to teach them a lesson to see if they have changed their ways before all the family are reunited again.
The role of Joseph is played by secondary school teacher Mark Coffey-Bainbridge who looked more than comfortable up there. Great vocals and comedy timing, Mark portrayed the role with ease and could quite easily hold his own in a professional company.
Anyone who has seen Joseph before knows what big shoes the person cast as the Pharaoh has to fill and Dan Armstrong did not disappoint as The King – a clever use of props that transformed him from being in bed to a dazzling gold suit.
Joseph is full of well-known songs including “Close Every Door” and “Any Dream Will Do”, what I enjoyed about this version was the interpretation of some of the other songs:
Joe Spoors as brother Gad and his country version of “One More Angel In Heaven”
the Parisian “Those Canaan Days” was very clever – great vocals from Shaun Hanrahan (Simeon) combined with the use of Pierrot clowns and the sheep were genius
Judah (Ray McLeod) with the “Benjamin Calypso” and the ensemble incorporating the word banana
Other notable performances for me include Conor Larkin as youngest brother Benjamin – a star, Joe Butler’s baker with the added Nottingham slang “do you want a cob”, some beautiful dancing from the wives and of course a massive well done to the children.
Big shout out to Ruth Greaves in the ensemble – looking stunning as a showgirl you were captivating to watch and it was clear you embraced the whole show. I look forward to seeing you up there on stage again soon.
A fun interpretation of a classic musical, whilst the stage was basic the casts enthusiasm more than made up for it. Over use of the smoke machine at the end of part one and a few too many people on stage in parts were the only obvious signs this was an amateur performance.
125 years of amateur productions is a fantastic achievement Nottingham Operatic Society– a great polished company, giving so many people a great opportunity to do something they love on one of the finest theatres in the country. Here’s to many more fantastic years.
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Theatre Royal Nottingham until Saturday 3rd November.