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All you need to know about Joseph

Andrew Lloyd Webber's iconic musical has opened to rave reviews at the London Palladium.

A brand new production of the classic musical opened at the London Palladium in June for a limited season until Sunday 8 September 2019.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is based on the “coat of many colours” story from the Bible’s Book of Genesis and was first presented as a 15-minute show for schools in the 1960s.

It became a hit when an expanded version of the show was restaged at the London Palladium in 1991, starring Australian actor and pop star Jason Donovan in the lead role.

This new production, which returns to the Palladium 28 years later, sees Donovan return to the show – although in a different role – and is also fronted by double Olivier Award winner Sheridan Smith as the Narrator. Newcomer Jac Yarrow stars as Joseph.

What is Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat about?

Told entirely through song (with the help of Sheridan Smith’s Narrator), the story follows Jacob’s favourite son Joseph and his 11 brothers, who sell him into slavery when they become frustrated by his ability to interpret their dreams (usually for the bad) and the way their father treats him – which includes gifting him with a beautiful, flowing coat of many colours.

Eventually, Joseph’s life as a slave sees him ingratiate himself with the Elvis-inspired Pharaoh, asserting himself as the leader’s right-hand man. In turn, this leads Joseph back into the lives of his father and brothers – which poses the dilemma of whether he should enjoy a happy reunion with them or test them for their betrayal.

Who stars in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat?

Original London Joseph Jason Donovan returns to the West End as the Pharaoh. In this madcap role, Donovan performs the hit track Song of the King, reimagined for this brand new production like never before. Rising to fame as Scott Robinson in Australian soap Neighbours, Donovan turned to music in 1989 with his debut single Ten Good Reasons. Alongside his Olivier Award-nominated turn in Joseph, his stage credits include Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Priscilla, Annie Get Your Gun and more.

Sheridan Smith takes on the role of the Narrator. The double Olivier Award winner made her TV debut in 1999 in ITV’s comedy series Dark Ages and went on to become a renowned household name on the long-running cult series Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps. Smith made her stage debut at the Donmar Warehouse in Into the Woods and has since gone on to establish herself as one of the leading actresses in UK theatre.

She earned her first Olivier Award Nomination for her performance in Little Shop of Horrors at the Menier Chocolate Factory and in the West End, and in 2009 was awarded her first Olivier Award for her role of Elle Woods in the West End production of Legally Blonde the Musical. She also won the 2012 Olivier Award for Best Supporting Performance and the Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Actress for her role of Doris in Flare Path.

Rising star Jac Yarrow plays the lead role of Joseph.

Check out the full cast in our gallery of Joseph images right here

What can audiences expect from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat?

There’s something very special seeing Joseph return to the West End and specifically the Palladium – where the show’s journey first began.

For this 50th anniversary production (celebrating the original 15-minute pop cantata version from 1969), Joseph keeps its core values the same.

Sheridan Smith, clearly loving it, keeps control, popping up as both Jacob and Mrs Potiphar along the way. As the Narrator, she gets to break the fourth wall, with which she has plenty of fun, injecting her own playful personality into the role. There are mischievous winks to the audiences, the occasional “it’s only me!” ribbing, and her unique brand of cheekiness that provide plenty of laughs for the grown-ups. Plus, her voice is stunning: especially during epic numbers Go, Go, Go Joseph, Joseph All the Time and Jacob and Sons.

As the Pharaoh, Jason Donovan gets a fitting cameo, which he milks for the all it’s worth – the excitement ahead of his first appearance on stage is palpable, his presence meaning so much to die-hard fans. Meanwhile, Jac Yarrow makes for a suitably handsome, fresh-faced Joseph, whose vibrato is simply gorgeous; his Close Every Door is surely career-making.

Elsewhere, the staging and choreography have had a full-throttle 2019 makeover, which brings the show bang up to date, and the supporting ensemble are amongst the most energetic you’re likely to see on the West End stage currently.

The child cast, meanwhile, get plenty to do, appearing in various guises throughout (including as Joseph’s brothers and Potiphar – the boy playing the Egyptian noble the night we saw the production almost stole the show), which feels fitting for a show that began its days in school.

What’s most charming of all though is that, at its heart, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat remains a family show, full of wonder, spectacle and the drive to believe in yourself.

What are the critics saying?

“Jac Yarrow… brings a new intensity and energy to the role” ★★★★★ – Metro

“Director Laurence Connor has elevated the show with inventive staging, hilarity and unexpectedly heartfelt emotion” ★★★★★ – Sunday Express

“Jac Yarrow gives the impression he was born on the Palladium stage” ★★★★ – The Guardian

“A vibrant slice of all singing, all dancing exuberance” ★★★★ – Evening Standard

“This Joseph has mojo” ★★★★ – The Times

“So bright you may need to apply factor 50” ★★★★ – The Daily Telegraph

“A massive blast of joy” ★★★★★ – The Stage

What else do I need to know?

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is now showing at the London Palladium until Sunday 8 September 2019. The show runs for 2 hours, including a 15-minute interval.

Check out our West End Guide

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