Venue: ARTS Theatre, 53 Angas Street, Adelaide
Season: 5-7 & 10-14 May 2011
Duration: 2hrs 30mins
Tickets: Adults $28, Concession $22, Matinees all tickets $22
Bookings: Carolyn Mesecke: 8264 3225, or BASS 131 241 or http://www.bass.net.au
This simplistic Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, with lyrics by Tim Rice, is based on the story of Joseph from the Book of Genesis, sold into slavery by his jealous brothers only to work using his talent of interpreting dreams to win favour with the Pharaoh.
It has been around since the late 1960s, originating as a short school musical and eventually being expanded to a full-length stage production.
For such an old, popular show, the creative team behind The Met’s current production have done it proud, offering a snappy, fresh, modern interpretation that reinvigorates the well-worn tale.
Resetting Joseph’s home to Canaan Mountain, Utah, with Egypt being none other than glitzy Las Vegas, the text doesn’t always match the scene, but the vibrancy and talent in this production far outweigh any minor discrepancies.
Director Trish Spence, with Musical Director Ben Stefanoff and Choreographer Carmel Vistoli are quite a team. They have cast well, keep the pace alive and, with Spence’s bright costume design, have created a country and western Egyptian odyssey!
Ellyanne Bradford plays the narrator, telling the tale of Joseph to a well disciplined children’s chorus. She’s a marvellous, maternal storyteller and the large number of kids display impressive diction in their choral work.
As the title character, Angus Birdseye offers all the ego, angst and fun required of the part. His stellar voice makes him a star that is second only to Rhonda Richardson’s amazing technicolor dreamcoat. Where can I buy one?!
Greg Hart’s impersonation of Elvis Presley makes for a much applauded Pharaoh.
The leads are ably supported by an enormous chorus, not least of all those playing Joseph’s family: Robert Reid, as his father Jacob, and his brothers, played by Mason Somerville, Daniel Fleming, Shay Aitken, Brendon Liley, Scott Reynolds, Jared Frost, Jamey Christel, Christopher Bierton, Caellyen Somerville, Angus Smith, and Christian Evans, as Benjamin, who proves to be the catalyst for Joseph’s eventual reunion with his family.
A back projection is used with maximum effectiveness and clears the stage of a full set for the oversized cast. Even so, the stage often looks far too crowded.
The twelve piece band handles the rescored music well and never drowns out the cast. Kudos to them all.
Reviewed by Rod Lewis, Performing Arts Critic, Glam Adelaide.