There is an uber trending and exquisite musical onstage at Theatre on the Bay… and it is as marvellous a sensation as the name suggests! Take note Cape Town, because Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is bringing a special kind of vibrance to the theatre scene.
Pieter Toerien Productions and The Really Useful Group breathe new life into the vision of Tim Rice (lyrics) and Andrew Lloyd Webber (music), with this re-invented staging of a classic. It’s hip, it’s fabulous, and it’s energetic thanks to the creative collaboration of Niall Griffin (costume design), Duane Alexander (choreography), Charl-Johan Lingerfelder (musical supervision) and Louis Zurnamer (musical direction). Their collective vision empowers the amazing talent of Bianca le Grange, Earl Gregory, Jonathan Roxmouth and the rest of the stellar cast to embrace their characters and bring them to life upon the colourful theatre canvas of light (Gareth Hewitt Williams) and sound (Mark Malherbe). This production of Joseph’s brilliance definitely draws its strength from the flair of the cast and crew as a whole, with this unique mix of talent being the true ‘amazing’ element of this musical.
Bianca le Grange as the narrator effortlessly sings you through the tale, as an ever pleasing presence. I must admit I was a little hesitant as I walked into the theatre, wondering what Earl Gregory as Joseph would do with my favourite song ‘Close every door’. I sat there silently begging the theatre fates that it would be everything I remember the Donny Osmond version to be. In truth Gregory’s voice, with depth of notes as colourful as the dreamcoat, took my breath away. He did my most beloved Joseph song-memory more than justice. A very worthy Joseph; in fact now I can’t imagine anyone else as Joseph after seeing him own the role.
And then there is the moon-walking funky Pharaoh, with a stage entrance as magnificent as the performer himself. Jonathan Roxmouth as Pharaoh brings so much swagger to the stage, that I think even Elvis would have been jealous. Well, Roxmouth and his eyebrows that is, because in this production his eyebrows practically have a fabulous personality of their own. Brilliant!
As far as the rest of the wonderfully talented cast is concerned, your musical world will never be the same after your introduction to Joseph's fantastic brothers. Step aside Ten Tenors, there are 11 musical men that will out-sing you without breaking a sweat, and they even bring a French feel to their vocal vibes when a melancholy mood so requires. From celebratory hoedowns to Jamaican toned beseeching, these brothers can do no wrong… well apart from selling Joseph and shipping him off to Egypt of course, but with their voices and dance moves, I can forgive them even that! Keep an eye out for two brothers in particular, Kenneth Meyer and Sven-Eric Müller are truly sensational.
This musical experience clearly left me lyrical, and for that reason you may think me subjectively easily swayed, so I will leave you with the persuasive ravings of fellow theatre lover, Charmaine van der Merwe:
“Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is officially my happy drug. It is the chocolatiest chocolate, the smoothest brandy – the Iron Fist of shoes. At first I thought ‘Forget Joseph! I’ll take his 11 brothers home and make them line dance for me every day’. Then Earl Gregory stole the stage as Joseph and I fell in love. And then Jonathan Roxmouth as Pharaoh got me all shook up! It is simply brilliant and it doesn’t stop being brilliant for a moment The dancing is amazing; the singing either gives you goosebumps or makes you want to get up and dance; the lighting is fantastic; the costumes are superb (I want Joseph’s coat!). Just go and watch it. You’ll walk away happy.”
So to paraphrase Pharaoh, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat blew my lid and flipped my top! If you are in the mood to be thoroughly entertained, book your tickets at Computicket and find out for yourself by 5 November why the whole of Cape Town is shouting ‘Go, Go, Go Joseph!’