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Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is one of those musicals that just keep on keeping on. Andrew Lloyd Webber's infectious tunes and Tim Rice's clever, witty lyrics are as fresh today as in 1968, when the show was first performed.
Musical Theatre Dunedin's production, at the Mayfair, is a triumph. Inspired direction (Gladys Hope), musical direction (Stuart Walker) and choreography (Robyn Sinclair) make the Genesis story of treachery, ambition, forgiveness and believing in yourself memorable and fun.
The set, designed by Peter King, literally sparkles, thanks to a shimmering and ever-changing backdrop. The wardrobe team, led by Samuel Keen, has created costumes ranging from Sunday-school Biblical to modern to fantasy, and all of this is complemented by Callum Jamieson's lighting.
Musical and dance styles are a stimulating mix that includes burlesque, ballet, tango and calypso, and opportunities for hamming it up are never lost. The mock grief in There's one more angel in heaven, for example, and French-style melancholy in Those Canaan days, are exploited to their limits.
A large number of people have contributed to the production's success. More than 50, including more than 20 children, and all bursting with talent, appear onstage. The programme also lists 12 musicians and more than 80 people who have assisted in various ways.
The stars of the show are the lovely Elizabeth Adams, who as Narrator has the job of holding the show together, and Greg MacLeod, confident and likeable as Joseph. Kelvin Cummings, looking more than a little like Mitt Romney, does a great Elvis impression in the role of Pharaoh.
Joseph is upbeat, noisy, colourful and captivating. Thursday night's audience was enthusiastic and delighted. The season runs until October 13.
- Barbar Frame