Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat
How we loved his coat of many colours!
With an onstage cast of over 60 students, a large choir, a student orchestra and a team of support crew, the Saint Kentigern Boys’ School production of Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, exceeded expectations, drawing in large, appreciative audiences and wowing them with a polished and confident delivery from a cast of boys and girls all under 13! Blending talent in performance with magnificent costuming and a stunning set, the show was a superb combination of light, sound and sheer energy. As a show that leans towards male performers, this was an ideal choice for an all boys’ school but they did receive help from their sister school, with the girls contributing to the dancing in Potiphar’s scene.
Based on the Biblical story of Jacob’s favoured son, Joseph and his coat of many colours, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s music and Tim Rice’s lyrics have circled the globe for over 40 years enchanting audiences from Broadway and the West End to local school productions.
An irrepressibly happy musical, ‘Joseph’ is a ‘sung-through’ show using a plethora of musical styles. From country and western to calypso, and from French romance to 60’s pop, the cast stepped up to the mark, swapping styles with ease to confidently deliver each of the numbers. This range of musical styles is one of the appealing features of the show, for both performers and audience alike, giving the opportunity to ‘ham-up’ a number of the songs.
In our production, the lead role of Joseph was performed with polished confidence by 12 year old Oliver Hadfield. Bringing great depth to the character, Oliver, as Joseph, provided the moments when the hectic pace of the show slows down to provide poignant contrasts to the action - such as the beautiful melody, ‘Close Every Door To Me’ sung on a stark set with lights casting prison bars across his face. His coat of many colours was an absolutely stunning piece of needlework, a beautiful costume, lovingly made by Jude Hall, a grandmother of one of the students. The choir provided a colourful onstage chorus that rose in choral counter melody in songs such as Joseph’s enduring number, ‘Any Dream Will Do’.
The role of Narrator was split three ways with Thomas Scott, Nick McQueen and Cameron Mahew giving superb performances to carry the thread from the opening number to the closing chorus. Each of them lent their own bit of character to their section of the role, sometimes taking the lead alone, and at others, singing in harmony. Dressed in modern day black, they both blended in to the action but also stood in contrast, ‘telling the story’ with great conviction and strong singing.
Songs such as ‘One More Angel in Heaven’, with its send-up of an ambling country and western number, set the scene that this is a show bent on audience appeal! A calypso that bounced around Pharaoh’s court was superbly led by Benjamin Allen, his energy and vigour bouncing off the stage to set the audience toe-tapping too! The band of brothers were well chosen, singing in harmony and proving they can also dance!
Reilly Hodson, as one of Joseph’s brothers, gave an outstanding solo performance of ‘Those Canaan Days’ bringing an unexpected touch of Montmartre, through his nostalgic rendition of a Gauloise chanson, whilst talented violinist, Jeramy Bhanabhai, serenaded in the background. Jeramy also played the opening overture, demonstrating a great range of musical styles and very advanced skills for his age on the violin.
Potiphar needed a wife so this was an ideal scene for the girls from Saint Kentigern Girls’ School. Under the guidance of Mrs Deborah Lafolley, the group of girls took on the roles of Potiphar’s servants, joining with the male servants in a spectacular dance number that drew spontaneous applause. Year 8 student, Christina Haliday, took on the role of Potiphar’s wife who tried to catch the amorous attention of Joseph, but was rebuffed.
But one of the focal points of the show was undoubtedly the strutting, hip-jutting Pharoah - via Memphis, Tennessee! Enough to make Elvis Presley stir, Mitchell Nash brought the best of rock and roll to Egypt with unabashed enthusiasm for the role! Superbly costumed in gold, he made his presence known in good 60’s style, complete with a microphone carefully camouflaged in his staff!
In a surprise element, the chorus, who had sat offstage in a rainbow of coloured teeshirts, suddenly leapt to their feet and streamed onto the stage to join in a lively ‘Go, Go, Go Joseph’, clearly relishing the opportunity for their chance to be under the spotlight!
In front of a magnificent Tutankhamen-like backdrop, the energy, colour and drama on stage continued to grow to a superb finale, with every member of the cast joining in the reprise on stage. This was a cast who had really enjoyed their chance to perform. They were proud and rightly so!