JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT
at Bristol Hippodrome
Tuesday 2nd May – Saturday 6th May 2017
My eight year old son and I sang songs from the show in the car on the way to The Bristol Hippodrome and the overture which opens the show reminds me of a few of the other well-known numbers which are packed into Joseph, many of which I learnt at school and some of which my eight year old is already familiar with. In fact, surely pretty much anyone who’s grown up in England over the past few decades will recognise Jacob and Sons, Close Every Door or Any Dream Will Do?
There’s a broad range of musical styles from around the world from the USA to France to Egypt and I should think there must be some fast costume changes back-stage to go with them. The three handmaidens (Amana Jones, Sallie-Beth Lawless and Gemma Pipe) demonstrate quite a repertoire of dance styles!
After a few numbers my eight year old leans over and whispers:-
Is there actually going to be any talking?
He’s not sure if I’m teasing him when I explain that there isn’t, as this is a back to back musical.
The set looks similar to the last production of Joseph I saw here: Palm trees and starry skies form a backdrop and wide staircases on either side of the stage offer seating for the young choir. In my head, I can’t help adapting the old saying to “children should be heard and not seen”, as the choir are busy either singing and simultaneously performing choreographed actions or staying very still in full view of the audience, but their presence is subtle in muted lighting at the edge of the stage for most of the show. We recognise a couple of family members and friends in their number which is fun for us.
I’d forgotten how humorous this rendition of a bible story was. From early on the audience is kept amused by stage sheep flopping up and down and the dozen diddy dolls piled into Jacob’s lap to represent all the children he’s fathered.
The whole One More Angel in Heaven scene is very funny and I’d forgotten that even Elvis makes an appearance, complete with trademark white jumpsuit, embellished with hieroglyphic embroidery, but my son’s favourite comedy moment is the cardboard cut-out singing camel with the uncannily camel-like voice!
During Poor, Poor Joseph there’s one brief section with some scary red eyes and a menacing death mask, which Zu immediately mentioned when I asked him about age suitability, but overall Joseph and The Technicolour Dreamcoat is very much a children’s show. It was fine for my eight year old and I would have taken him when he was seven too but I think that would be my lowest age limit.
Zu enjoyed the way the story is easy to understand through song. There was only the odd thing he didn’t pick up like why Joseph wears half a gold mask near the end and to be honest I didn’t know the answer to that either. Any suggestions please?
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The children’s choir forms an integral part of Joseph, and when they’re not singing and performing synchronised actions, are tasked with staying very still and remaining inconspicuous so that they don’t detract from the main action. We don’t really notice them a lot of the time and as they’re constantly on stage, this is no mean feat! Wouldnt it be lovely if they came to the front for a bow at the end so we could show them our appreciation? Actually, I’ll just say it now shall I? Congratulations to Bristol School of Performing Arts, Team Baker, for a great performance!
“Oh my goodness. That was amazing!”
Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat is a very funny and rather bonkers show featuring a variety of music and dance styles and masses of costumes. It’s great family entertainment and if you manage to leave the theatre without at least one of the songs stuck in your head for a day or two, you’re a better woman than I am!
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JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT
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