THEATRE REVIEW: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Liverpool Empire
BEFORE I launch into my review I'd like to share a couple of things in Tim Rice's biography in the Joseph programme that amused me. Somehow he manages to list all is many accomplishments while being so self-depricating that it comes out as modest - "He has won a variety of awards, mainly for the wrong things or just for turning up" it says about his three Oscars, four Tonys, 13 Ivor Novellos and Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Rice translated the hit French musical Starmania into English in 1989 - "which merely resulted in a hit album - in France" - and published the first volume of his autobiography in 1999 - "If his publishers ask, he is currently working on Part 2, due out five years ago".
Anyway, here's my review...
WATCHING the story of Joseph and his 11 jealous brothers is like reading the Book of Genesis on an acid trip - inflatable sheep spring up from nowhere, the Pharoah is an Ancient Egyptian Elvis Presley and his subjects cheerleaders and quarterbacks.
The energetic professional cast and singers from Liverpool's Performers Theatre School are led by Scottish actor Keith Jack, who came second in BBC1's Any Dream Will Do talent show back in 2007 but has matured well into the role.
With his Colgate smile he makes a likeable Joseph, despite the owner of the technicolor dreamcoat being so smug that his brothers' act of selling him into slavery seems almost restrained.
Tim Rice's cheeky lyrics and Andrew Lloyd Webber's upbeat score remove any anguish from the Bible story - Jacob's sons delivering the false news of their brother's death in the form of a hoedown and bursting into a calypso when, as reformed men, they beg Joseph to spare other brother Benjamin a spell in jail.
First performed in the West End in 1973, some of the orchestrations feel quite dated, the songs are excessively repeated and the story-telling is Genesis crossed with Nickelodeon, but none of that detracts from its overriding sense of fun.
Three out of five stars