Thursday, 4 August 2022

REVIEW: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the New Victoria Theatre, Woking

The award-winning Linzi Hateley and rising star Jac Yarrow lead this impressive and hardworking cast in the latest revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s classic musical, Joseph. The story follows gifted Joseph and his brother’s struggle to remain in his shade accompanied by a number of sing-a-long classic songs.

The set design is vibrant, flexible and moves slickly from one scene to the next allowing the story to move along at a good pace and no song or scene outstaying their welcome. Morgan Large’s design is a feast for the eyes, especially once the story moves into Egypt and we meet the charismatic Pharoah played by Bobby Windebank. Windebank sparkles as the Elvis-esque Pharoah full of hip thrusts and high-energy moves. 

Jac Yarrow continues to show why he is one of the most sought-after and highly rated new talents in Musical Theatre. Returning to the role that launched him he is an elegant and poised performer, complete with a killer smile that wouldn’t look out of place in a Disney movie – he embodies Joseph perfectly and has a natural likeability well suited for the role. His rendition of Close Every Door rightly commands a loud and long round of applause from the audience and is a vocal standout of the production. He interacts smoothly with the rest of the cast, never stealing focus and allowing others to shine. No doubt other leading West End roles will soon follow for him.

Linzi Hateley is a warm and friendly Narrator, gliding effortlessly between roles bringing the audience along with her. Returning to the role she first performed in 1991, her performance feels fresh, never laboured and looks like she’s having the time of her life especially as she adopts various comedic accents and shares knowing winks and laughs with the audience. She is in the thick of all the action and revels in holding the show together. 

The talented supporting cast and ensemble are joined by a strong team of young performers who bring a youthful energy to the show. They more than hold their own and get a lot of laughs. So often kids in shows feel like their tagged on but in this production feel vital and intrinsic to the story. They really do steal the show at times. 

The first half of Joseph is by far the strongest and zips by at a breathtaking place. The longer second half does labour at points but the Megamix at the end is a joyous finale full of energy, whole company choreography and dazzling colours.

Joseph may not be one of the most life-changing and impactful shows but it has an enduring quality and timeless appeal and when performed by such a talented cast – hard to not be thoroughly enjoyable. For a great fun, family show Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat hits the spot.

Review by Andy Edmeads 

Rating: ★★★★
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