Joseph and the amazing technicolour dreamcoat is one of those musicals that has provided a sound track to many a childhood including my own.
It was one of the first I saw as a child and as an adult I still know all the words.
I have watched and reviewed it half a dozen times over the years, with multiple reincarnations of Joseph, varying qualities of production and once when one of Joseph’s brothers tumbled down the steps and broke his arm (amazingly carrying on his performance.)
But there is something that remains magical about the camp, colourful, extravaganza that is Andrew Lloyd Webber and Time Rice’s Joseph which is hard to explain to a non-musical lover.
In this production and on the large stage at the Opera House, this magic still abounds throughout.
There are more modern, technically ingenious, productions out there but Joseph stands the test of time and very much relies on a hard working, talented, company bringing the finest musical kitsch to a smiling audience.
Here X Factor former winner Joe McElderry, recently seen on this very same stage in the very much darker role of Tommy, demonstrates his versatility as Joseph.
The range and timbre of his voice, boasting an almost operatic range, proves he could sing almost anything and his stage presence draws the eye constantly.
He adapts well to the exaggerated acting and more subtle undercurrent of religious farce that permeates this riotous show, which after all is a dig at biblical lore albeit wrapped up in a moralistic lesson about good trumping evil and forgiveness.
The show has something for everyone on all levels and is great for children with humour for adults which will rise above the heads of the little ones.
The hardest working role of all is this show is Narrator, here played by understudy Samantha Noel who was promoted for the night from Handmaiden.
She is on stage virtually throughout, doing a fantastic job of what must be a vocally challenging and exhausting part with little room for error.
The hard-working company as a whole work together to make this as continually entertaining production.
Although a little slow to start, once it gets going there is no stop for breath in the catalogue of catchy tunes, exuberant choreography and solo performances.
We are taken through a whirlwind of emotions by the cast, playing in front of the tuneful and omnipresent choir of tuneful young children from the Michael Hall theatre school.
Humour abounds from the inflatable sheep to the golden chariot bike and the outrageous costumes.
A satisfying and riotous romp which will bring a smile to your face.
This has also appeared in several publications in paper and online including lep.co.uk HERE