Joseph, UK Tour, Churchill Theatre Bromley

4 Oct

This wasn’t my first time seeing the musical or the tour, but the first time with this cast. As much as I love more serious musicals, Joseph never fails to cheer me up. It’s incredibly cheesy, but has such catchy songs and is simply a bit of light-hearted fun.

Before I say anything about the cast, I have to say that this production is very tacky and cheap-looking. The inflatable sheep didn’t even want to stand up properly tonight, the “golden chariot” is ridiculous (and I’m not sure if I’m supposed to find it funny?!), as are Jacob’s children at the beginning of Jacob & Sons and some of the costumes. I know I shouldn’t compare it to the most recent West End production, but it was just a bit more subtle, especially with the costumes. I really don’t think it needs the cowboy hats, the Eiffel Tower background or the “tropical bird jackets”, but that’s just personal preference. However, I couldn’t help noticing that also some of the songs seemed to be a lot slower and therefore some of them dragged a bit and weren’t as funny as they could have been. That was most noticeable during Those Canaan Days for me.

Keith Jack, who lost out to Lee Mead in Any Dream Will Do and became 2nd a couple of years ago, finally gets to play the part on tour now. I didn’t really pay too much attention to Any Dream Will Do back then, but I remember that I thought that he had quite a good voice. Tonight, however, I was very disappointed. For once, his acting was very wooden and his facial expression in Close Every Door can probably best be compared to the one of a 5-year-old who has just dropped his ice-cream. But his diction was a bit odd as well, though I can’t really put my finger on it. It just didn’t sound very natural. I’m not sure if it has anything to do with this, but his singing was rather on the weak side too, and I found it quite difficult to hear him when the ensemble joined in. That wasn’t helped by the fact that he just had no stage presence whatsoever. I know it sounds very harsh, but I’m sure that every other person on that stage (the girls included!) could have given a stronger, more rounded portrayal.

Now to the positive things: Jennifer Potts was fabulous as the Narrator. She has a great voice and I loved her acting. For me, she was the true star of the show!

I don’t think Henry Metcalfe will ever leave this production, but he’s a good Jacob. I like the way he wraps Benjamin in his coat during Any Dream Will Do (Reprise), it’s just a lovely touch.

Adam Jarrell seemed to have a lot of fun as the Pharaoh and I liked  Song of the King.

The last time I saw it, the ensemble was a bit all over the place (different cast), but tonight they worked very well together and I just love all the Brothers’ songs. I found that Shaun McCourt, especially, had great stage presence, and Kevin Grogan as Benjamin was very good, too (though I always find it a bit weird that he just lies down and goes to sleep at the end of Benjamin Calypso?! But that’s down to the direction obviously…).

The girls don’t really have much stage time, but they made the most of it and were great in every scene.

All in all, I had an enjoyable evening, but that was entirely down to the musical itself and a very strong supporting cast. Having seen some previous Joseph understudies (who, incidentally, all turned out to be better than the principal), I’d quite like to see the present understudy, Shaun McCourt, in the part. Hopefully I will manage to do that when/if the tour returns to the London area.


One Response to “Joseph, UK Tour, Churchill Theatre Bromley”

  1. Shaun McCourt 17 December 2011 at 19:38 #

    Thank you very much PollY! Very kind of you!

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