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Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

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Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
on Friday 21 August 2009
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joseph logoCompletely camp and outrageously glitzy, Harvest Rain has turned the biblical tale of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat into a night of superficial fun.

Returning to the stage for the second time this year, the musical delivered what it promised; a visit to the 60s and a “unique, fresh and slightly quirky” creation. It is a shame that among all the fun and talent the night had to offer, the story telling was lost.

Narrator, Angela Harding, is our guide through the well-known parable of Joseph, played by Jordan Pollard. His 11 brothers, who envy their dream-interpreting sibling favoured by their father Jacob, believe they are always destined to be beneath him. When jealousy takes over, the brothers strip Joseph of his prized technicolor dreamcoat and send him to Egypt to be a slave of Potiphar. Joseph pleases the Egyptian millionaire, and becomes the runner of the house until Mrs Potiphar makes inappropriate advances towards him, which in a strange twist has him thrown in jail. However, not all is lost. Once the Pharaoh (a.k.a. Elvis) hears of his knack for interpreting dreams, and following Joseph’s accurate prediction of the famine which allows the Pharaoh to prepare for the plight, he becomes the most powerful man in Egypt. His brothers, who have since suffered the famine, come crawling back for forgiveness. When he approves their transformation into honest men he forgives his brothers, and there you have the happy ending. Unfortunately, the Harvest Rain production skims over this plot, skipping over the moral lessons and missing the opportunity to present a meaningful tone to the tale.

However, if it’s over-the-top and skin-deep entertainment you are chasing, there is thorough enjoyment to be had. The vibrancy and energy is unfailing throughout the entire show. With the bright colours of the 60s, amusing pop culture references, and varied music styles from disco to country, it has the lot. Sometimes tacky, but always dazzling, the performances, set, and costumes are bold and bright. Choreographer Callum Mansfield wowed with his elaborate dance routines that involved more than 50 cast members.

Angela Harding and Jordan Pollard were the stand out singers of the night. They enchanted the mixed audience of young and old, delivering quality and professional performances, but sadly lacked depth due to the fluffiness of the show. Pollard’s rendition of ‘Any Dream Will Do’ and ‘Close Every Door’ was technically brilliant and had the potential to be emotive, but without the story-line to back this up, it was isolated and simply a pleasant sound. Harding’s colourful transformations from school teacher, to pilot, to sassy-diva and other roles proved herself a versatile actress and an accomplished singer.

Sandro Colarelli as Elvis led the way in pelvic thrusts and sensational theatre. Backed up by an hilarious group of dance fans who faint at his every move made his scene a shining moment of the night.

Two prominent chorus members were Justin Truloff as brother Levi and the camp Butler, and George Canham as brother Dan. Truloff was a magnet for attention, standing out from the crowd with his comedic body language and facial expressions. Canham’s strong and precise dancing put him above the rest of the brothers.

A brilliant live band, powerful booth singers, and the attractive children’s ensemble were the crux of the show and put the zest into the ‘out there’ production.

Harvest Rain’s Joseph is a night of fun, particularly for the youngsters, but is a disappointing let down to the original story.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is showing until the 30th of August.

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Kellie Scott is a guest writer for AussieTheatre.com