A dream of a pro­duc­tion

Huddersfield Daily Examiner - - FRONT PAGE -

TEPPING into Joseph’s ‘san­dals’ in Joseph and the Amaz­ing Tech­ni­color Dream­coat must be daunt­ing for any ac­tor, given the num­ber of celebri­ties who have played the ti­tle role since the mu­si­cal was penned by Tim Rice and An­drew Lloyd Web­ber in 1968.

In the Wood­house Mu­si­cal Theatre Com­pany’s pro­duc­tion at the Lawrence Bat­ley Theatre, which runs un­til to­mor­row, Tom Wid­dop (Joseph) gave an open­ing night per­for­mance to ri­val that of any West End star.

His beau­ti­ful, heart-rend­ing per­for­mance of Close Ev­ery Door Pro­duc­tion: Per­formed by: Venue: Re­view by: Rat­ing: was one of the many high­lights of this up­lift­ing, colour­ful and vi­brant show.

Joseph, the mu­si­cal, is based on the bi­b­li­cal story of Ja­cob’s favourite son, sold into slav­ery by his broth­ers.

Thanks to his abil­ity to in­ter­pret prophetic dreams, Joseph shakes off his shack­les and be­comes the Pharaoh’s right-hand man and, in this pro­duc­tion, Neil Broad­bent, as the Elvis-like Pharaoh, sang his way straight into the hearts of the au­di­ence.

He­len Wood­head’s con­sid­er­able vo­cal tal­ents and warm per­son­al­ity made her the ideal choice as The Nar­ra­tor; a chal­leng­ing role but one she han­dled with ease.

‘Any Dream Will Do,’ per­formed with the an­gelic-look­ing chil­dren’s cho­rus, was a real tear-jerker.

Joseph’s broth­ers were, with­out ex­cep­tion, en­gag­ing and en­ter­tain­ing as well as be­ing tal­ented vo­cal­ists.

There were some ad­mirable solo per­for­mances.

Joe Med­lock (Ju­dah) was par­tic­u­larly charis­matic.

This is a pro­duc­tion with an ex­ten­sive cast and, thanks to skil­ful stag­ing and chore­og­ra­phy, the cast, dancers, en­sem­ble and the chil­dren’s cho­rus (many of whom were on stage at the same time) all man­aged to be in the right place at the right mo­ment.

Given the re­stricted space on the nar­row stage, this was an im­pres­sive feat.

The dancers, per­form­ing a va­ri­ety of roles, dis­played a great deal of en­ergy and en­thu­si­asm and seemed un­fazed by nu­mer­ous changes into a se­ries of im­pres­sive cos­tumes.

It is rare that a first night at­tracts a stand­ing ova­tion – let alone two – but the cast of The Wood­house Mu­si­cal Theatre Com­pany’s pro­duc­tion richly de­served the rap­tur­ous ap­plause of the au­di­ence and stand­ing ova­tions both be­fore and af­ter the fi­nale.

From the out­set, the per­form­ers gave the im­pres­sion that they thor­oughly en­joyed them­selves and those of us in the au­di­ence cer­tainly did.

A woman in the stalls spoke for many when she said: “The best show I’ve seen in a long time. If it wasn’t sold out, I’d def­i­nitely come again this week.”

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