Joseph was Andrew Lloyd Weber’s first musical and along with Tim Rice as the lyricist this musical was first performed way before any of these youngsters were even a twinkle in their parents’ eye. So, for them, it was a fresh piece of theatre to take on and perform.
This young cast approached the show with great enthusiasm which shone through with many young cast members giving strong and steady performances.
The show rests on squarely on the shoulders of the part of Joseph which was ably taken on by Ben Collins. Ben was confident throughout the show with a nice singing voice and good stage presence. He was also supported well by the girls sharing the part of the narrator. All of them presented the show well and took us on Josephs story with aplomb, however, it was Charlotte Kane who particularly stood out to me with her ease of performance.
Other notable performances were from Charlie Warner as Pharaoh – who literally brought down the house with his Elvis interpretation as Pharaoh and I also particularly liked Millie Sheldrick as brother Judah who not only worked hard throughout the whole show but sang and performed Benjamin’s Calypso very well.
The set was lovely on two levels with silhouetted palm trees in Act 1 and pyramids with a fantastic pharaoh head on the back wall in Act 2. This allowed for some great opportunities to stage some pictures with the cast. This set along with some great costumes gave a real wow factor to the show. As a musical Joseph can be a tough, as there is very little dialogue and it is nearly all sung through, consequently there were a few shaky vocal moments from some of the soloists but with such a young cast this is to be expected and I commend all of them for their bravery in standing up there and giving us their very best. One area that felt a little weak were some of the dance numbers which looked a little under-rehearsed and a bit challenging for some of the cast. While some of them could obviously manage the routines perhaps others should have been given something a little simpler enabling them to deliver it well and give a polished performance. One number where this was not an issue however, was the Song of the King which was excellently delivered on all levels.
It seemed to me that this company thoroughly enjoyed performing this show and there were huge levels of joy and excitement rolling off the stage in waves. It was a pleasure to watch them and I am sure many of them, as a result of performing with this group, will go on to gain greater confidence both on and off stage which is great credit to Director Alex Berriman and her team. I look forward to seeing another KYDS production in the future.
Reviewer: Nikki Mundell-Poole
Published at TheatreLife.org
Joseph and The Technicoloured Dreamcoat – 1st July 2017
This talented youth group always give a lot of pleasure to the community and work so hard to achieve a good show even though they are up against larger local theatrical amateur companies. So I was really looking forward to seeing what they would achieve with this production.
It is over 40 years since the early versions of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s musical were first staged, but the show continues to entertain audiences today. This was certainly the case on the night we attended as it was a full house with parents, grandparents and younger children who were probably going to the first musical that they had ever been too.
One of the first things to impress me when the curtains opened was the set, it was simple, colourful and it worked well. An upstage thrust, stairs and colourful lighting plus palm trees in Act 1 and pyramids and a superb painting of a Pharaoh in Act 2, set the production beautifully.
We are guided through this biblical story by four narrators (Ellie Russell, Amy Swallow, Charlotte Kane and Emily Hatton). These girls had clear voices, good diction and you could hear all the words, which is so important, well done.
The title role of Joseph went to Ben Collins who was an absolute delight. Full of confidence and with a clear strong voice and obviously enjoying the role. He had good stage presence and also looked the part with his handsome appearance. I’m sure the young girls in the audience really enjoyed seeing him on stage.
The brothers worked well around him and there were some super moments when they each took turns to sing one of the many fabulous songs. “Those Canaan Days”, “One more Angel” and “Benjamin Calypso”. I loved the energy and fun that was expressed by the whole cast.
The Pharaoh (Charlie Warner) gave us an excellent Elvis, sung with energy and acted with wonderful characterisation. He really has comedic talent and I loved how he got the audience reacting. A lovely cameo by Beau Hens as Potiphar, definitely made me smile. To see tall Mrs Potiphar (Tommy Metcalf) in drag picking up young Beau and taking him off the set was hilarious.
All the younger children were well disciplined; they worked very hard and looked as if they were all enjoying themselves. , I thought that the colourful costumes were excellent and not forgetting the orchestra. The lighting design once again pushed the boundaries; however there were occasion when upstage centre was left in shadow. Despite this I am always impressed with Kyds approach to technicals, not afraid to experiment and try new effects. The sound was also well balanced particularly with 12 wireless mics onstage. Well done to the tech team.
Choreography maybe could have set some of the dance scenes a little simpler so that the cast could deal with the moves more easily, as I think some of them were a little out of their depth. The piano sound was also not set properly so sounded muffled but I understand that they had to get a replacement at the last moment due to problems with the company’s own keyboard. Nonetheless well done to everyone for a good show & for all their hard work.
NORTH ESSEX THEATRE GUILD
SHOWCASE FESTIVAL 2016 – 17
Group KYDS Youth Drama Society
Venue Thurstable School Tiptree
Date of Adj. 1st July Matinee
Production Joseph and the Amazing Technicoloured Dreamcoat
Director Alexandra Berriman
Adjudicated by Anne Sexton
Accompanied by Jenny Burke
Front of House / Publicity
A lovely, friendly welcome from the members of the KYDS teams. Refreshments and a raffle were available.
The programme is colourfully designed with lots of information, rehearsal photos and single photographs of the whole cast (very helpful).
The design of the sets were very simple, but very effective. Opening with a back platform, rails and palm trees as a silhouette, changing to pyramids then the head of the sphinx, all relating well with the scene changes, particularly the head of the sphinx, which was very well painted and in spite of its size the perspective was spot on.
Props were varied. I noticed the well made chains used for Joseph – and the chariot of gold really amused us.
Different scenes were light with lots of changes of lighting, with a variation of colours enhanced the action on the stage. There were some moments when members of the cast were not illuminated enough as the spread of light did not reach the far sides of the acting area, both left and right. It was a shame, however, this not spoil the overall lighting effects.
The choreography was not over complicated. The moves were well timed and in unison. The cast were always very animated, but perhaps the speed and tempo of the music was a little challenging for some members of the chorus. I particularly liked the arrangement of dance and singing in the number ‘Song of the King’.
With such a large cast, this was an enormous task. It is a shame that no mention in the programme of who put together the collection of costumes, even if a number of costumes had to be hired, it was none the less a fine achievement. The brothers looked mostly the right era, but some of the girls needed more disguise as they were actually playing men. The wives, with their flowing brown and coloured dresses looked good. The nineteen sixties costumes made a lovely splash of colour and were imaginative. Joseph’s different outfits showed his rise from poor to rich very effectively. The coat itself was really quite ‘amazing’ and beautifully made. The ‘Elvis’ style costume for Pharaoh was quite stunning, as was Mrs. Potiphar’s red outfit.
It was great to see live musicians when so many groups have to rely on pre-recorded music. This band played very well together as a team, and with an enormous amount of music that this play demands, it was a mammoth task. My only ‘grouse’ was that when the drummer was in full flow – he drowned out the singers – however, it was great playing. The standard of the solo and ensemble singing was very high and brought the story to life. Well done.
Joseph – Ben Collins
This was a very confident portrayal. With good body language and singing voice (and handsome!) I think Ben enjoyed himself immensely, as did we and the audience.
Jacob / Mrs. Potiphar – Tommy Metcalf
As Jacob, Tommy was quite dominant and showed a maturity suited to the role. As Mrs. Potiphar, he certainly pointed up the height difference to Mr. Potiphar. His feminine movement were quite amusing.
Mr. Potiphar – Beau Hens
Poor old Potiphar! He is quite the underdog, half the height of his wife, his stature proved the point. Beau managed his role with confidence and obvious pleasure.
Pharaoh – Charlie Warner
Charlie clearly relished his role as this ‘Elvis’ style character. He was confident and his body language was good. He threw himself into the role with enthusiasm. The range of his voice suited the song in Act 2 – the prison scene – very well, this was a striking rendition of the number.
The Narrators –
Ellie has a strong voice and an ability to blend into harmonies. Also, she has a good stage presence. Amy Swallow
Amy has a nice sweet singing voice and blended with the others in the team well.
Charlotte’s voice is again sweet toned, she made a valuable member of the team.
Emily has a great singing voice. She hit the high notes with ease and was noticeably good as backing in ‘one more angel’.
Reuben – Matthew Greed
Featured in the song ‘ One More Angel’, Matthew had a good American accent and a good ‘cow-boy’ swagger. He clearly enjoyed his role.
Simeon – Tom Hennesey
With a French flavour ‘Those Canaan Days’ features Simeon. Wearing a dashing moustache and goatee beard, Tom just needed a touch more confidence to completely ‘nail’ this role. It was a good interpretation, which brought enjoyment.
Judah – Millie Sheldrick
Millie made a great Judah, whose was featured in the ‘Benjamin Calypso’. She was full of energy, great animation, with a good singing voice. Very enjoyable performance.
Brothers – Daisy Loerns / Morgan Sheldon / Emily Upton / Tyler Mansfield / Eva Guerra / Beau Hens / Marcus Renshaw / Lorna Thompson
Well done the brothers – each playing their role with good team work and enthusiasm. Especially Marcus, who we understand had just broken his arm and had to appear with a plaster cast.
The Wives – Madison Warner / Mia Cox / Lola Emson / Eden Hewes / Annabele Bradshaw / Grace Robards / Ellie Macey / Emily Pettican / Madison Macey / Matilda Hens / Ella Bennett
This group also showed great team work. Animated and full of energy. Well done.
Butler – Olly Smith
Olly was full of smiles for this positive cameo role.
Baker – Steven Hyde
Steven coped well with his unhappy cameo role as the doomed baker.
Team work is a trend in this production and this group of enthusiastic young people made a valuable contribution to the production.
The pace was non-stop and the action lively and enthusiastic. I have one query, which was that I could not understand why Jacob appeared with a Zimmer frame in the opening scene. My companion said it ‘nailed’ his role as an older man, but for me the wig and make-up was enough, in addition, this devise was not used again in the show so why have it at all. Having said this I was impressed with every part of this production, it demands a wide range of talent – singers, actors, dancers and musicians. This group covered these demands with confidence, commitment and ‘dare I say again’ great team work.
The audience loved it as we did – well done to all.
Thank you for the invitation.