Joseph And The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat at The London Palladium
PUBLISHED: 17:00 15 July 2019
Overegged but fun revival proves Rice and Lloyd Webber's biblical classic is indestructible
In just over 50 years since it debuted as a 15 minute school concert, Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's Old Testament jamboree has scarcely been out of production.
This lavish, fun revival proves its indestructible qualities, simple slick storytelling, catchy parodic songs, clever, witty lyrics, ('we were in a jam that would have baffled Abraham') oh and a buff hero in a loin cloth.
Armed with a budget to put Cecil B De Mille to shame, director Laurence Connor clearly decided it was go big or go home.
The sung-through story of Jacob's favourite son and dreamer who is sold into slavery by his jealous brothers and ends up as the Pharaoh's right hand man, already trades on anachronistic irreverence.
But he merrily chucks more eggs into the pudding, with can-canning Caananites, line-dancing Cowboys, a tap dancing chorus line, and a Calypso number that breaks into beatboxing.
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As the narrator Sheridan Smith is always and everywhere, popping up as patriarch Jacob, Potiphar's lusty wife, and an eye-patch toting jailer.
It's an unbridled display of mugging, winking, body-popping, fourth-wall-breaking Panto-style chutzpah that could wear thin if you're not a Sheridan fan.
Less controversial is the joyful use of a gang of angel-voiced kids playing Joseph's fratricidal brothers, slave-trading Ismaelites on brilliant camel bicycles, and on our night a stupendous Shekel-counting Potiphar.
Nearly two decades after sporting the dreamcoat himself, Jason Donovan is clearly enjoying donning a gold tunic to play the Elvis-channelling Egyptian ruler - it's just a shame his mangled diction means you can't make out a word of old Pharaoh's dream.
Not a problem for brand newcomer Jac Yarrow who possesses a powerful baritone and enunciates every word, bringing the house down in a rare moment of emotion with an anguished Close Every Door To Me.
If he seemed a little strained at times then press night nerves would be understandable, and he'll surely relax into the role.
Credit to Joann M Hunter and a lithe Michael Pickering for the hilarious choreographed gallic sighing of Proustian cafe-spoof Those Canaan Days, and to Morgan Large for one of the most glittery, eye-catching sets the West End has seen.