Sometimes the liveliest and most colourful musical shows aren’t the glitzy, big-budget ones.
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat was originally written for schools and youth theatre groups, and often still works best in that environment – especially when the young performers are as enthusiastic and well-drilled as Dot Clarke’s Inspirations Theatre Company.
Their production at Mansfield’s Palace Theatre this week had everything Joseph needs: picturesque costumes, cardboard camels, the traditional Elvis impression from Pharoah (Zac Paling, in white suit and red glitter), lots of humour, a variety of dance styles, and most important of all, an engaging Narrator and a first-class Joseph.
There is plenty for the girls’ ensemble and children’s chorus to do, and they do it with obvious enjoyment. The choreography varies from belly-dancing to 1960s bopping, with some acrobatics thrown in for good measure.
Much of the humour comes from Joseph’s exuberant brothers, who have a lot of fun with their ensemble scenes and throw themselves into their roles with gusto. Their ensemble number, Those Canaan Days, is cross-cultural, with an Argentine tango added to the cod-French style; and lead singer Reuben (Ben Featherstone) contributes a strong voice.
Francesca Fleming’s Narrator holds it all together, though the sound system sadly did her no favours on the first night.
alex Wallhead’s strong voice takes the familiar songs in its stride; he injects poignancy into Close Every Door and energy into Any Dream Will Do. His Joseph is understated, but no less effective for that.
Continuing its run on September 20 and 21, this is yet another production Inspirations can feel proud of.