Review Scene: Joseph the Musical, Regent Theatre, 16th November 2022

An unashamedly wacky musical with ‘the lot’!

What began life as a small-scale school concert, has grown into an extravaganza that has been performed hundreds of times around the world.  This revamped classic production has just opened in Melbourne with an all-Australian cast.  It’s loaded with clichés and daggy parodies along with every possible performance style you could fit into one show.  It’s a heady cocktail of old-school tap, vaudeville, cabaret, western cowboy ballads, the can-can, Elvis, disco and even a touch of Mardi Gras.

Told entirely through song with the help of The Narrator,Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat follows the story of Jacob’s favourite son Joseph and his eleven brothers. After being sold into slavery by the brothers, he ingratiates himself with Egyptian noble Potiphar, but ends up in jail after refusing the advances of Potiphar’s wife. While imprisonment, Joseph discovers his ability to interpret dreams, and he soon finds himself in front of the mighty but troubled showman, the Pharaoh. As Joseph strives to resolve Egypt’s famine, he becomes Pharaoh’s right-hand man and eventually reunites with his family.

The story’s Narrator is played by the highly impressive Paulini, formerly from Australian Idol, who is the heart and soul of the show.  Moving smoothly and effortlessly through a variety of performances and sub-characters, her singing is powerful and elegant and she shows us the breadth of her highly polished dance skills.

Euan Fistrovic Doidge (Kinky Boots, Priscilla Queen of theDesert) plays Joseph and delivers powerful solos and a strong stage presence. It would be remiss of me not to mention Shane Crawford, former star Hawthorn Football Club player and The Footy Show presenter, who has made his musical theatre stage debut as the Pharaoh.  While his performance felt a bit cringey at times, there was an element of charisma too and his Pharoah caricature certainly got some laughs from the audience.

Performances from the ensemble were slick and well-delivered, showing their versatility across the multitude of musical numbers, set and costume changes.  True to the show’s roots a large number of children make up the ensemble, who each delivered talented performances in their own right. Morgan Large has created vibrant sets that transport the audience to different worlds within the story from the magical to the earthly and on to the gold of Ancient Egypt.The sets are further brought to life by being bathed in rich lighting design by Ben Cracknell.

A show for all ages, with lyrics by Tim Rice and music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is full of fun and positivity and teaches us that ‘Any dream will do’.

Now playing at Regent Theatre, Collins Street, Melbourne

Wednesday to Saturday at 7.30pm; Saturday at 2pm; Sunday1pm & 6.30pm

At Sydney’s Capitol Theatre from February 2023.