Pulsating ‘Joseph’ packs a punch
SHOW: JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT
CAST: EARL GREGORY, Nádine, Anton Luitingh, DEAN ROBERTS AND ENSEMBLE.
DIRECTOR: PAUL WARWICK GRIFFIN
MUSICAL DIRECTOR: LOUIS ZURNAMER
CHOREOGRAPHER: DUANE ALEXANDER
VENUE: PIETER TOERIEN’S THEATRE ON THE BAY IN CAMPS BAY, UNTIL April 8
REVIEWER: PETER TROMP
As someone who hasn’t seen ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’ before, I was quite amazed at how trim and lacking in fat this show is. (And I’m not just talking about the svelte and muscular bodies on display in Paul Warwick Griffin’s production.) Even the best musicals have boring patches in them, or songs that you’d wish the cast would just speed through so you could get to the good stuff (if you’ve seen the show before, of course). Clocking in at barely 90 minutes, ‘Joseph’ is one sprightly, joyously fun affair that will leave you energised after having seen it and have you humming many of the tunes even if, like me, you are a newbie. You might even find yourself pirouetting into the evening air as you leave the theatre. (Even days after, some of the tunes are still stuck in my head. I don’t mind.)
As just about everyone knows the story, I’ll focus on the main strengths and most glaring weakness of Griffin’s production. Perhaps my favourite thing is the way the large, terrific ensemble is so effectively utilised. Just about each cast member gets their moment to shine, even if the story effectively revolves around only three characters. I love how despite having his name attached to the title, Joseph doesn’t completely dominate proceedings.
That being said, Earl Gregory is a marvellous Joseph, exuding star power out of every pore and hitting just about every note effortlessly. He is an exceedingly graceful centre to the action; a nuanced, expressive professional in a hard candy shell of a body.
It also looks quite fabulous. Kudos to Niall Griffin’s colourful, at times blissfully campy costume designs.
The most obvious weakness of the production is music star Nádine in the role of The Narrator. Nádine as a vocalist is beyond reproach, but her stiffness compared to everyone else, who effortlessly sashays this way and that past her, betrays that she is the newcomer to the show; the replacement of Bianca Le Grange. I obviously cannot judge Nádine’s performance against the star she’s replacing, but it’s obvious she needs time to get on the same level as her cast mates.
I imagine that ‘Josesph’s slight running time might put some people off. Judging by the audience’s buoyancy after the show and their excitement at posing for pictures with the cast, I would say they felt that they got their money’s worth.
* Book at Computicket.