LENGTHY queues outside Chesterfield’s showpiece venue are highlighting a ground-breaking week for performance arts in town.
For the first time in its history, the Winding Wheel is hosting a West End production.
Scores of excited families lined up along Holywell Street yesterday, wrapped up in raincoats as they clutched the hottest tickets in town, tickets which would give them first-night access to Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
The rainbow they had been hoping for magically appeared indoors where an awesome light show created every colour under the sun to set the stage ablaze.
This paved the way for a kaleidoscope of colourful characters to sing their hearts out, dance up a storm and get spectators clapping along as they painted the town red, yellow, pink, green and every other hue ofJoseph’s coat.
Cheers and wolf whistles created a reception fit for a pop star or, in this case, telly competition runner-up Keith Jack, playing the main man in his signature show.
Keith’s rich honeyed voice oozed out of Joseph’s songs, which he performed with conviction and emotion, and he formed such a strong bond with the audience that he seemed reluctant to break it to make his final exit.
Nottingham lass Jennifer Potts put powerful singing and stage presence into the marathon role of Narrator, although occasionally her vocals were a touch too loud for the size of the auditorium.
Adam Jarrell, playing Pharaoh, got rock ‘n’roll fans all shook up with his superb Elvis-style singing. However the famous hip wiggles and pelvic thrusts were either half-baked or toned down for family viewing.
Mums and dads beamed with pride when they saw the 28-strong children’s choir, composed of pupils from Stagecoach Chesterfield and Sheffield, take centre stage at the beginning of act two to perform a beautifully sung medley of numbers from the show.
The set was a feat of design wizardry, incorporating a stepped bridge structure which gave the performers multiple platforms to project from as well as enabling spectators at the back of the auditorium to see what was going on.
Productions of this calibre have been a long time coming to Chesterfield but the wait has been worth it. This magical, musical marvel, directed by Bill Kenwright and presented by the Really Useful Theatre Company, runs at the Winding Wheel until Saturday, May 5.
Joseph has set the ball rolling for another West End spectacular, courtesy of Bill Kenwright who is bring Blood Brothers to the Winding Wheel in October. GAY BOLTON