Published in the Student Advertiser.
When Joe McElderry first faces the audience at the Kings Theatre, we are amazed for two reasons. Firstly, what a sound! McElderry’s singing career might not have taken off as far into space as other winners but, boy, hasn’t this blue-eyed dreamer grown into a fine specimen of an entertainer? Secondly, wow – did UGG boots exist that far back in time? We had no idea.
Much like it’s title, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is a notoriously flamboyant, exaggerative modernisation of the Book of Genesis. If you’ve never used the word ‘camp’ to describe The Bible, think again.
The Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber musical has always been a cheesy, all-singing-all-dancing affair. Glasgow maintained it’s reputation as ‘most audience-participating crowd in the country’ by belting out every hit on Tuesday night like it was Auld Lang Syne on Hogmanay. The producers of the current production have exceeded themselves this year by adding in a sprinkle of regurgitated Simon Cowell produce: former X-Factor winner Joe McElderry surprisingly stunned in the lead of Joseph. I cannot deny… I wasn’t expecting him to be as good as he was.
Like many 90s babies, the 1999 straight-to-video film version of show was one of my first experiences of theatre. If Donny Osmond (Joseph in the film) was to stand on the Avcii stage at last year’s T in the Park and sing that opening line of Any Dream Will do, ‘I closed my eyes, drew back the curtain…’ guaranteed, a sea of drunken festival go-ers would respond with a mighty ‘uh-uh-uh’.
It’s clear that the 2016 production is much sleeker than the original with costume changes-a-plenty and pyrotechnics to boot. However, such a big budget show operating on just a CD soundtrack felt like a bit of a cop-out to me. It felt as if the cast were waiting for the CD to catch up at times and a singer-music imbalance was present throughout the performance that would have otherwise been absent with a live orchestra.
That saying, McElderry’s Close Every Door to Me was like liquid gold circulating in my ears and is quite possibly the most stunning rendition of the song I have ever heard.
Lucy Kay, once portrayed as the shy 2015 Britain’s Got Talent runner-up with an angelic voice, definitely delivers in the high-demanding role of the ever-present, omniscient narrator. She may not have hit the high notes once or twice but when she does everything else is instantly forgiven. She has pipes to rival that of any professional musical theatre actor, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see her cast in leading roles in the West End in the near future.
Emilianos Stamatakis is making his UK debut in the role of Pharaoh, the Elvis-inspired leader of Egypt. While I maintain that Stamatakis is undoubtedly the most realistic young Elvis tribute I have ever laid eyes upon, his performance was quite stiff when the music turned off. That saying, the audience didn’t seem to mind as they heckled for encore after encore of Song of the King, Pharaoh’s highly anticipated dance number.
All in all, the performance was memorable and a hit with Glaswegian families far and wide. The conclusion of the show boasts the longest encore section I have ever experienced in a single musical, however, getting to hear Joe McElderry do what he does best for a second time in Close Every Door to Me, sigh… I’d sit through it all again.