Saturday 24 June 2017

Nostalgic return of a colourful evening's entertainment

MUSICALS

Liam Collins

Liam Collins

MY partner last saw Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in the company of the ill-fated Celine Cawley, with Tony Kenny as Joseph, as a child back in the early Seventies. So the opening night of the show in the Grand Canal Theatre was a poignant occasion -- not that there was anything poignant about the rest of the evening.

Joseph is an all-singing, all-dancing affair, and Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's first major success.

Based on the biblical story of Jacob and his 12 sons, it tells how the 11 brothers ganged up out of jealousy on Joseph 'with his coat of many colours' and sold the young lad to the Egyptians as a slave.

But with the gift of prophesy he soon comes to the attention of the ruler and starts moving in exalted circles.

Joseph was the first exposure Ireland got to the new musical -- as opposed to the old standards like South Pacific, Paint Your Wagon etc.

It was a huge crowd pleaser then, and if the Grand Canal Theatre last Wednesday is anything to go by, it will be again.

Nostalgia is in, whether we like it or not; we're gradually retreating to the Ireland of the Seventies -- and, if we're not careful, even further back.

But all those cares are forgotten as Joseph, played with gusto by Keith Jack, strikes up Any Dream Will Do and the crowd immediately start singing along to the chorus.

Jennifer Potts as the narrator, Adam Jarrell as the Pharaoh and Henry Metcalf as Jacob lead a top-class British cast in a musical that gets stuck in from the off. Dancers, costumes and sets are all spot-on. The gangs of kids banked up on both sides of the steps behaved and sang impeccably, and the show -- which once featured the late Boyzone star Stephen Gately in the lead role -- glides along, playing shamelessly to the gallery, which is what the gallery generally wants.

It's a great evening's entertainment and a show that, while sometimes surreal, has survived the test of time.

Sunday Independent

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