Living colour Jaymi’s Joseph has carnival feel
STARRY skies, a singing sphinx, bearded female Ishmaelites, a Gloucestershire baker and enough colour to make even a rainbow look dull – Joseph’s legendary dreamcoat is back in town.
Blessed with pulsating choreography, resonant vocals and captivating sets, Bill Kenwright’s dazzling production of this perennial favourite is a visual and musical feast.
Pharaoh’s gang is all here, the stage strewn with glittering treasures that include inflatable sheep, manic gospel singers, the gleaming Harley Davidson
chariot and a few recruits from the Notting Hill Carnival.
It’s fresh, fast and funny, bristling with lush harmonies, raw energy and sheer joy.
The evergreen songs flow like the River Nile having undergone some imaginative reinvention, in particular the rip-roaring One More Angel In Heaven which explodes into a frantic cowboy dance.
The robust cast throws itself into this pageant with unbridled gusto.
Elder statesman Henry Metcalfe brings considerable dignity to the ageing Jacob and the eventual reunion with his exiled son is genuinely moving.
Beaming Alexandra Doar soars as the storyteller who is far more involved in the action than previous narrators.
Andrew Geater is a convincing Elvis, whose lilting Pharaoh’s Story never fails to up the ante.
He even gets his own full-blown encore, a mini-medley of the King’s hits, engagingly presented as a 1950s tribute act.
But it’s the bleak, French-flavoured lament Those Canaan Days which rings my bell every time.
Beneath an illuminated Eiffel Tower, the starving brothers briefly step off the gas and add a beguiling whiff of Les Miserables.
Topping the bill, Jaymi Hensley impresses in the title role.
His finely-observed portrayal of a rather more worldly-wise Joseph adds welcome depth to his character, while his controlled, expressive voice oozes light and shade and intermittently injects real gravitas, most notably during the stirring Close Every Door.
Individually, the brothers are strong and believable, but function equally effectively as a single unit.
Still phenomenal after half a century, this glorious creation has decades of life left, having lost none of its sparkle and clearly acquired a whole lot more.
Jaymi Hensley as Joseph in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat Pictures: Pamela Raith Photography