Review of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” at The Bay CE Primary School, Sandown. 18th July 2018.
The Bay CE Primary is situated just off the Broadway and this performance equalled the quality of a production found on Broadway. From the outset the production matched the quality and level of professionalism you would expect to see from an amateur company at Shanklin or Medina Theatre – if it was not for the plastic chair I was seated upon you would easily forget you were in a primary school hall. There was a professional looking light rig, small band and pa system. The principle characters were even wearing microphones, not that some of them needed further amplification. This level of professionalism continued in the performance of the children themselves.
The choir brought both enthusiasm and colour to the performance. They were all very engaging during their moments and managed to pull focus from the stage to the edges around the stage where they stood to sing. Their beautiful ribbon-ography in Joseph’s Coat deserves special mention because the choir not only stood, but they crossed the stage and become visually involved in the performance as a whole rather than commenting on the fringes like a traditional Greek chorus. From that moment onwards the audience felt part of the story.
The twelve brothers were excellently cast. It was obvious that they had bonded as a band of brothers and helped each other if one stumbled. This was especially noticeable in Who’s the Thief? When it was revealed that there was, as the song goes: Reuben, Simeon and Levi, Napthali and Issachar, Asher but not Dan, Zebulun and Gad, Benjamin and Judah. Therefore there were only eleven of them, they had covered the absence of brother Dan seamlessly throughout.
Each of the brothers had some solo singing during the course of the performance most notably the vocal performances of Reuben in One More Angel in Heaven; Levi leading the brothers who all had very confidently performed solos in Those Canaan Days and Simeon did a sterling job leading Benjamin Calypso.
The reclining Jacob did a star turn surrounded by his children, a role which he stepped into at the last minute. He reappeared much more animated and alert as Potiphar alongside his Wife and the dancers who brought some pizzazz to the stage. Traditionally, the character of Pharaoh is based on Elvis. However, this young performer’s interpretation of the role brought a fresh, contemporary approach and it worked. She played the role of Pharaoh with both the sass and aloofness it calls for whilst vocally keeping up with Joseph and the Narrator.
A chorus of dancers appeared for Go, Go, Go Joseph with their beaming smiles and bright colours. Their infectious smiles and coordinated moves defied the audience to tap their feet along. This was a true reflection of Choreography team of Samantha Saltaformaggio, Karla Potts and Claire Apsey. The energy level of the performers was so infectious the audience began to boogie in their chairs!
The Butler was adept at bowing and smiling nervously, true to character. Well done. The Baker’s performance was very larger than life and I rather enjoyed her facial expression when Joseph revealed that her “execution date is set.” GULP! A fantastic piece of comic relief.
No production of Joseph would be complete without two roles. The Narrator and Joseph himself. In this case Joseph was a herself. Both She and the Narrator, showed phenomenal vocal range and talent definitely ones to watch as they grow up. They both sang with superb vocal clarity and confidence. It’s a very daunting task to be alone on a stage, with all these faces looking expectantly up at you, but this seemed not to faze either of them – they were both very comfortable on the stage.
The overall quality and high standard of singing in the performance was a testament to the teachings of Luke Mulhern, the Musical Director and Producer, who accompanied the performance and the team at The Bay CE Primary. It was clear a large amount of time and effort had been poured into this production and it reflects the high value The Bay CE Primary puts performing arts in its curriculum. Both the staff and parents of the pupils involved should be immensely proud of each and every person involved in bringing this spectacular performance to life.