There’s something rousing about a show that casts our next generation of local talent alongside the very best of our seasoned board-treadders.
From the moment the curtain rose on NQOMT’s Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat last night, I was hooked. Seeing 35 children assembled as an ethereal Dream Chorus around the faultless Sandra Neal as The Narrator and Brady Cronin as Joseph was chill-inducing. As The Narrator and Joseph sweetly led the Dream Chorus, I couldn’t help but see Sandra and Brady as separate from their characters, gently nurturing Townsville’s future theatrical stars. (Yep. I cried in the opening number!)
But the actors quickly disappeared into their roles as we learned Joseph, as his Father’s favourite, was despised by his 11 brothers. When Joseph is gifted a brightly coloured coat as a symbol of his Father’s affection, it is the straw that breaks the camillac’s* back and the Brothers hatch a plan to sell Joseph into slavery. Joseph finds himself in a series of predicaments but thanks to his ability to interpret dreams and an unwavering self-belief he is able to rise through the ranks to the good fortune he had foreseen for himself.
While some may expect a dry re-telling of a Biblical tale, I can assure you this production is anything but! In fact, I suspect the costume department might have forgotten to separate the cast’s laundry, because the colour has run from Joe’s famed coat and across every single aspect of the show! The music, the sets, the costumes, the choreography, the performances – they all combined to make a technicolour spectacle I could not tear my eyes from.
The cast was sensational.
With more than 80 per cent of the show’s cast having played a lead role in a past local production (including some young faces I recognised from Annie) the depth of talent is evident in the polish of each individual performance. Brady and Sandra deserve to make a living from their craft. Brady has brought to life a likeable know-it-all masked in naivety – a task that isn’t easy to do – and his performance is astounding. Sandra brings a cheekiness to The Narrator that only she could do and the show’s broad variety of musical genres provides the perfect platform to showcase her incredible vocal range.
But it’s the bit-players who add layer-upon-layer to this sensory feast. Each of the Brothers has a unique personality of their own and Luke Reynolds, Wes Thomas and Jeremy Pau deserve a special mention for their solo numbers. Luke delivers a raucous country and western number that erupts into a stage-wide hoedown; Wes’ sultry French crooning of the song Those Caanan Days was hypnotic; and Jeremy’s calypso number had me dancing in my seat. I also heard a pair of women gushing over Jeremy’s facial expressions as I eavesdropped in the car park on the way out. Katie-Anne Grice was sexy and seductive as Mrs Potiphar and, while I’m not personally an Elvis fan, Cameron Veigel’s Presley-inspired depiction of the Pharoah was a clear audience favourite (If you see the show, be sure to check out the Pharaoh’s shoes!).
Clever jokes were stitched into the show, with the sets, props, costumes, blocking and, what I suspect was the first ever selfie, all providing funny little points of interest.
Hats off to the Costume Realisation Team who had clearly worked their butts off and gave me a serious case of wardrobe envy; and to the Set Realisation Team who turned the deserts of Caanan and Egypt into a fun and funky place to spend a few hours. The Orchestra was also wonderful and from our seats in C Row we could see Musical Director Paul Neilson – who’s now been involved in seven productions of Joseph – singing along to every word as he conducted.
Lastly, to Alan Cooke, his Directorial Dream Team and the incredible crew – well done! With no spoken dialogue in the show, I’d been dubious about how the story would flow but you’ve delivered an absolutely seamless Technicolor Dreamcoat. Scene transitions went almost unnoticed, the choreography was breath-taking and the prison bars made from light was simply genius.
My only gripe is it that the show wasn’t long enough. Though, I realise I’ll need to take up that particular issue with Andrew Lloyd-Weber himself.
I was sad to see the theatre was only half-full for opening night – a turn out that was most certainly not reflective of this wonderful, wonderful show.
Go go go see Joseph, you won’t regret it!
NQOMT’s Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat is on at the Townville Civic Theatre until 1 April 2017. Tickets are available from TicketShop
HUXLEY Press were invited guests of NQOMT.