Is Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat a children's show? Maybe. There are a lot of little ones involved, and let's not forget about that clunky framing device whereby everything taking place is all supposed to be part of some surreal bedtime story, straight from the Book of Genesis.
Whether it's for big kids or small ones, however, isn't important. This is the official touring production, with every bell, whistle and rigid 'chorus' attached. So why does it look so bloody cheap?
Indeed, Joseph… (Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's debut musical, now in its fifth decade) is further proof that the duo were off their rockers from the beginning.
Here we have a rainbow-decorated sing-song, based on a story that was never that interesting in the first place. Joseph (a woefully miscast Lloyd Daniels) is one of a dozen sons born to Jacob (Henry Metcalfe), who decides to gift his favourite child (a future leader, we're told) with a fancy coat. The brothers aren't happy, so they sell Joseph off to slavery and pretend to their old man that the young fella is dead. Lovely.
Over in Egypt, Joseph works his way up the slave ranks, but is soon imprisoned after he's caught with the master's missus. Thankfully, the lad is pretty good at deciphering dreams and soon makes friends in high places.
All of this would be fine if Joseph… was in any way funny, endearing or entertaining. It's not. It's a relentless (no dialogue here), shoddy piece of work, with a wobbly star at its centre.
Any Dream Will Do is a decent number, but the rest (Close Every Door and the King's various offerings) will test your patience. The discount costumes are a disappointment, the set often resembling something of a Christmas school production, and the adult ensemble cast, well, they seem to think they're in Butlins.
Daniels (a former X Factor finalist) might yet make it as a singer, but musical theatre is not his forte.
As for Matt Lapinskas' Elvis impression…what the heck is that about? Exuberant narrator, Danielle Hope, does her best, but her efforts are wasted. At least it's only two hours long. That's something, right?
Running until August 23