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Joseph Review Bristol: Is Joe McElderry the Best Yet?

Joe McElderry as Joseph


at Bristol Hippodrome

Tuesday 2nd May – Saturday 6th May 2017

The 2017 national tour of the UK’s longest running musical, Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat, is visiting Bristol this week. As I’ve seen the show several times (previous review here) and I have a ridiculous amount going on at the moment, I toyed with giving this production a miss, but two factors convinced me to go: Firstly, I wanted to take eight year old Zu, who’d previously only seen a school performance (albeit a very good one) in which his elder brother was narrator and secondly, this production stars talented vocalist, Joe McElderry who we watched winning X factor as a shy 18 year old from South Shields back in 2009. Joe’s title-role debut in the 2016 production of Joseph was his first major theatrical appearance so I was interested to see how he’d fare in this demanding stage role.
Joining Joe in the pivotal role of narrator is Lucy Kay, who shot to fame as runner-up on Britain’s got talent in 2014 and Benjamin James-Ellis, semi-finalist on the hit TV show, Any Dream Will Do, who plays Pharoah.


Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat retells the biblical story of Joseph, who has prophetic dreams and interprets those of others. It shows how he is brutally betrayed by his eleven brothers because of his strange prophecies and their Father Jacob’s favouritism towards him and how he eventually turns his fortune around.
Joseph Review Bristol Hippodrome with Joe McElderry and Lucy Kay


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?

Joseph Review Bristol Hippodrome with Joe McElderry and Lucy Kay

You can check prices or book tickets to Joseph or other shows here*


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!

Lucy Kay does herself proud in the demanding role of narrator and her pretty tinkling voice is very easy on the ear.
Joe McElderry’s voice is as amazing as I’d hoped and when he concludes Land of My Own, having imbued it with the perfect degree of light and shade, I can’t disagree with my neighbour who exclaims,
“Oh my goodness. That was amazing!”
Is Joe the best Joseph yet? Well, he’s pretty amazing and nothing about his singing, acting or stage presence would have led me to think his major theatrical debut was only last year, so we give him a big thumbs up.

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!

As usual, please do share your thoughts about the show or our review in the comments below. If you’d like more information or would like to book tickets to Joseph or other shows, click here*.

*Many thanks if you book anything through the affiliate link above as it provides a small commission at no extra cost to you which goes towards funding this blog.

Joseph Review Bristol Hippodrome with Joe McElderry and Lucy Kay


Tue 2 – Sat 6 May 2017
Evenings – Tue – Thu 7.30pm, Fri & Sat 5pm & 8pm
Matinees – Wed & Thu 2.30pm, Sat 2pm
Concessions available at certain performances

Click here for a complete diary listing of shows at the Bristol Hippodrome

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Joseph Review Bristol Hippodrome with Joe McElderry and Lucy Kay


Joe McElderry – Joseph
Lucy Kay – Narrator
Benjamin James-Ellis (semi-finalist on the hit TV show, Any Dream Will Do) – Pharoah
The cast is completed by:-
Henry Metcalfe, Sallie-Beth Lawless, Matt Jolly, Darren Charles, Lloyd Green, Matthew McCabe, George Knapper, Michael Lapham, Michael Colbourne, Lewis Asquith, Richard J Hunt, Amana Jones, Will Breckin, Kevin Grogan and Gemma Pipe.
A Bill Kenwright Production
Lyrics – Tim Rice
Music – Andrew Lloyd Webber
Click here to book tickets*.

Enjoyed our JOSEPH REVIEW? Then why not check out other show reviews on Practically Perfect Mums?

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The Wedding Singer

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Not Dead Enough

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Billy Elliot


Kiss Me Kate

Fiddler on the Roof

Breakfast at Tiffany’s



Guys and Dolls

Chicago The Musical

Taming of the Shrew Ballet

Let It Be

Mamma Mia!


Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty


Avenue Q

The Last Tango

The Bodyguard

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs 

Mary Poppins

Little Table of Delights

I Puritani

Romeo and Juliet


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