Young Generation – Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
Director Jeremy Tustin; MD Bryan Cass
Civic Theatre, Chelmsford – 13 November 2013
I had to dig deeply into my memory to recall the last time I saw this show. Invariably one does a comparison and having little recollection of the previous time I saw this was fortunate. This bore no resemblance to any production I have seen in the past. This was fresh and original in so many respects. There were some truly ingenious touches to the direction and the choreography. The use of props (and oh such good props at that) was innovative and amusing. What I particularly took note of regarding the choreography was the fact that whilst everyone was dancing, they were in groups with each group doing something different. This not only takes time in rehearsal but requires a vast amount of talent, which was very clearly on show in this production. The highly functional and impressive set was well utilised and the use of gobos on the side screens was a nice effect. The lighting overall was tremendous – the Technicolor of it very much matching the title of the show. I noticed one very negligible minor hiccup with the sound. The large company was slick in everything asked of them – tremendous groupings, dance routines and harmonious singing. The ‘brothers’ demonstrated a particularly strong relationship one to another with their soloists mastering the vastly different styles of music. Kathryn Peacock (narrator) sang with great confidence and the audience heard every word – even when accompanied by the wonderfully strong orchestra. She held the piece together beautifully and I liked the way that she turned out to be the eventual ‘love’ of Joseph. Chester Lawrence as Pharoah (aka Elvis) gave a fantastic rendition of his solo and had the audience in the palm of his hand. But surely, man of the show had to be Jayden Booroff (Joseph) – a particularly handsome boy with a wonderful voice. His performance was really understated, making his character all the more believable. I was so pleased that his principal songs were all reprised at the end of the show! Finally, I must mention costumes, hair and make-up. So often the costuming of this show is done on the cheap with each person lucky if they had one costume. That was never going to happen here. The costumes were quite elaborate and a number of changes for most of the cast. It was pleasing to see that the singing ensemble, who were utilised in the action rather than just sitting on the sidelines, also had a couple of changes of costume. Hair and make-up had been afforded much time as the detail and accuracy had been beautifully applied. Jacob (James Bantock) very much looked the part with his beard and moustache and he gave good account of his character notwithstanding the inconvenience of that facial hair! And the final phrase I use to give my final praise – ‘a show that was second to none’!
Eric Smart, NODA