2 July 2008
I first saw the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat when it was less than half the length it is now. Since then, I've seen tours, West End and provincial productions and amateur attempts, and watched it grow to the bloated spectacle it is now.
This Adelphi version, boosted by the reality tv casting that launched Lee Mead to stardom, may not be my last, but is certainly the most lavish so far.
It is essentially a revival of Steven Pimlott's 1991 Joseph, and stands up pretty well. There were lots of clever touches, and striking design ideas, helped by a double revolve. Anthony van Laast's choreography was energetic and inventive – the Canaan Days Apache number was a delight.
Lee is a competent Joseph, and sings his big numbers with a passion. But he is outclassed by Jenna Lee-James as the Narrator – clear diction, strong presence and an ability to sell the most humdrum number as if it were a hit. Dean Collinson as Pharaoh, his part now swollen by a new number, gave a solidly amusing pastiche of the King of the later, fatter years.
The Brothers seemed a little mechanical at first; only in the Megamix did the whole company really come alive. The children, though cute and lively, were often a distraction, and sounded thin and unpleaseant through the amplification which otherwise achieved a decent soundscape, with good balance between soloists, band and chorus.
Photographs by Tristram Kenton © The Really Useful Group Ltd 2007