Skip to main content

Review of Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the Looking Glass Theatre, Northampton

A few months ago I got myself embroiled in a little verbal fracas (no cold meat involved) on Twitter with those that I now call my Irish friends. It concerned their production of Jesus Christ Superstar (details here) and in my opinion being slightly below par. They got quite uppity about my criticism and even suggested the likes of me could effect its success. The tour continues merrily despite me and its actually at Milton Keynes Theatre next week. I suggest you save your money. Oops naughty me.

However this convoluted intro brings me to the glorious stage school production of Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor [sic] Dreamcoat at Looking Glass Theatre. In the absence of knowing whether this is a musical or a rock opera (sorry another in joke), I shall just call it an "absolute joy" instead.

What this lacked in production values and budget over JCS it made up in on in earnest joy, enthusiasm and a sheer thrill of performance over making money. I mentioned to local theatre legend Weekes Baptiste during the interval that I had enjoyed Joseph immensely more than the big budget version of JVS simply because it was fun. Sure a proper critic could never say as much because they are looking at the nuts and bolts, the performance, the bells and whistles of a show. I am, trying not to look too deeply or be too philosophical, looking for the soul, the joy of performing on the faces of the performers. However, we all know that you would rarely see a proper critic at this kind of show anyway, unless their child is performing. Their loss. However I realise I have got a little too serious in this review, so lets get to proper business.

This was my first experience of Joseph apart from knowing of the famous Any Dream Will Do, I knew next to nothing. Through the performance we are led in the the story by six gloriously cool young ladies, all leather jacketed and shades. All six, Esha Mehta, Brianna Souter-Smith, Susie Clark, Frankie Warren-Waller, Olivia Hepher and Anna King-Ferguson bring confident performances and all are unique in their styles. Joshua Mobbs is also fantastic as the "Elvis" Pharaoh complete with green flashing glasses. Quite brilliant, well as are they all. Everyone brings all they have got to their performance and with twenty-nine stars on stage, they all pull together and work with each other like no other I have seen on the Looking Glass stage.

Mr James, Miss Leigh and Miss Karin have indeed created a complete package with the show which gloriously uses the whole of the theatre space. Having the ensemble singing right at your shoulder in the aisles is a shivering and magical moment. The cast move with ease around the seating and onto and off of the stage, The choreographed pieces also are a delight with the first reveal of the dreamcoat with a constantly revolving ensemble a brilliant and perfectly performed piece.

Finally I have to deal with Master Rory Traynor as Joseph. A star in every way and acting well beyond his nine year old status. Dealing with a great bulk of the show is no mean feat, but Rory holds it on his shoulders with apparent ease. His Close Every Door in particular is simply incredible. I think, or I sincerely hope, that we shall see him gracing a stage again in the future. A star is indeed born.

So a glorious fun evening played out to a packed audience and as the final epic show on the current Looking Glass stage, a totally fitting way to end. The Looking Glass is dead, long live the Looking Glass!


Performance reviewed: Saturday 4th July, 2015 at the Looking Glass Theatre, Northampton.

Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat was on at the Looking Glass Theatre between 1st July and 5th July, 2015. 
If you missed it, a recording of the show will be available from Looking Glass Theatre soon.

Looking Glass Theatre also has a website at http://www.lookingglasstheatre.co.uk/


Kevin And The Non-Technicolour Raffle Tickets (and non-winning).

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Review of Great Expectations by The Royal & Derngate Actors Company at Royal & Derngate (Royal), Northampton

Market Boy from The Actors Company last year was a remarkable show and is likely to stay with me for a long time, so following it with this year's production was always going to be a tough call and with their production of the epic Dickens classic Great Expectations, they at least didn't lack ambition.

I have to be honest, things for me didn't start well. The first few minutes of this adaptation by Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod is a busy and convoluted sequence moving the opening part of the story in an unclear and often irritating way. For those present not aware of the original story, I wouldn't envy them trying to keep up with what is going on. However much of the trouble of this opening sequence is quickly corrected as scenes become more defined and controlled and the story is allowed to develop at a slower pace.

Perhaps also in the early part, it doesn't help either that the gender-swapped Magwitch played by Salli Bersham is a little too full on with the o…

Review of Once Upon A Grimm Tale by The Royal & Derngate Actors Company (Early) at Judge's Lodgings, Northampton

Once upon a time, there was a brave theatrical reviewer. He lived in a market town in deepest darkest Englaland, where many great and remarkable things of stage did occur. At the centre of this wondrous world of performing spectacles was a place referred to by many as the Royal Derngatus, a place of people pretending to be other people and telling tales of mystery, intrigue and frolics.

Within the fortressed walls of Royal Derngatus, there were a group of fearless players who entertained local folk for no reward, other than the thrill of seeing the joy in the faces of others. Those group of artists went by the name of Actors Companus, which many pronounced carefully when they did say it out loud. This group of merry men and women did have two forms, an early and a late, and but two days before this adventurous evening of forthcoming storytelling, the late group did perform for a third and final time a most amazing feat of theatre, going by the name of Great Expectations.


Our hero of thi…

Review of Hansel & Gretel by Warts & All at Delapré Abbey, Northampton

For those unfamiliar with Kneehigh Theatre (from where this show originally comes), the best way of explaining them is that they do traditional things, differently. This performance by Warts and All Theatre of their adaptation of the classic tale of Hansel & Gretel tells you much of what you need to know early on as a (human) rabbit is pinned down upon a table and skinned (half their costume removed). It is just one of an evening of wacky and quite brilliant moments as this production sours mostly for the sky of brilliance.

Handed to a cast of young performers, the result is often disturbingly professional. Sure it is still rough around the edges at times, but perhaps this helps the material. It doesn't actually matter if there is sparring from the cast with the audience, knowing looks and playfulness. It doesn't matter if one of the cast nearly knocks the cymbal of the musicians flying, perhaps it would have been even better if they had, this is anachic fun at its very b…