By the end of the night, the cast of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat had every person in the London Palladium on their feet, joining in the show's celebratory ending. This new anniversary production from director Laurence Connor is a Joseph for today, not only bringing it back to the West End with incredible levels of enthusiasm, but bringing a new face with it in the title role.
It doesn't take long to warm up to newcomer Jac Yarrow. Fresh out of school, he takes on a role that has been most frequently played by pop stars and breathes new life into the material that was once intended to just be a school play. And despite its humble beginnings, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice created a show that has lasted for decades. It even brings some of its history back to the London Palladium with it.
In 1991, Jason Donavon's career received a boost to the stratosphere when he played the title role in Joseph, also at the Palladium. Now he returns as the Pharaoh, who asks Joseph to interpret his dreams. In his Elvis-esque outfit, designed by Morgan Large, takes on the overly theatrical role in a terrific way.
While Joseph is mostly sung through, giving Yarrow a chance to show off his golden vocals on "Any Dream Will Do" and "Close Every Door to Me" among others, there is still some narration. This time around, Sheridan Smith returns to the West End as the Narrator in a quick-witted and cheeky performance. She's the leader of the kids on stage, encouraging them to get involved in the storytelling while taking her own advice. Smith also plays Jacob, of the 'and Sons' fame, and Potiphar's wife who tries to seduce Joseph. Meanwhile, the kids take on roles such as Pharaoh's Baker and Butler, play a few of Joseph's brothers, and join the incredible ensemble.
The production that Connor has created is a full on spectacle. Teeming with light, and more colors than Joseph could have on his coat, it is perfect for young and old alike. While the story is simple at its core, it has a tongue-in-cheek spirit that is imbued through every element of the show. The choreography ranges from some a square dance inspired number, to some can can dancing and everything in between. And with Sheridan leading the way alongside the frankly brilliant Yarrow, this production appeals to the childlike wonder in everyone, making you just want to get up and join the cast in their singing and dancing by the end.