In 1968, three years after their fortuitous meeting as a 17-year-old budding composer and a 20-year-old aspiring songwriter, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice wrote the first of their musicals to make it to the stage.
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat is based on the Biblical story of Joseph, who was one of 12 sons of Jacob – and his father’s clear favourite. When Jacob gifts his son a beautiful multi-coloured coat, his jealous brothers decide to sell him to Israelites, expecting never to see him again. But Joseph’s ability to interpret dreams gets him noticed by the powerful Pharaoh of Egypt, who appoints him as his right-hand man. Years later, when the brothers are starving due to a famine, they leave their home in Canaan for Egypt, where they beg for food. They run into their VIP brother but don’t recognise him. After setting them a trap, Joseph realises they are changed men, decides to forgive them and unity is restored.
Apart from Joseph, the musical’s key role is the Narrator, who in this production, is played by pop singer, Paulini, who got her big break on Australian idol some 20 years ago and has since appeared on I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here. The Fiji-Australian singer, who has a 5-octave range, never put a foot wrong and gave the show, which can be quite frenetic at times, some steadying ballast. Unfortunately, this production also has her doubling up as Jacob, Joseph’s father and later as the wife of a rich Egyptian who tries to seduce Joseph. This curious casting decision diminishes somewhat her impact as the Narrator but she acquits herself equally well.
Euan Fistrovic Doidge as Joseph is a little underwhelming to me but the Pharaoh, who turns Joseph’s fortunes around, is veteran cabaret performer and drag artist, Trevor Ashley. He hams up his Elvis-inspired ‘Song of the King’ to the max and was a huge hit with the Opening Night audience.
The songs are catchy and in some cases, moving (Close Every Door To Me). Given the musical has been performed almost non-stop around the world for the past 50 years, it’s a good one for a family outing, as the cast includes several talented children. The finale gets everyone on their feet for a bop and a singalong, leaving a feeling of goodwill and happiness that never goes astray these days.
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat
Until 16 April, 2023