Liv­ing colour Jaymi’s Joseph has car­ni­val feel

Gloucestershire Echo - - NEWS - gloslive­[email protected]­ Simon LEWIS

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

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