Jospeh..., Norwich

IAN CLARKE The wonderful story of Jacob's favourite son's fall and rise after being taken as a slave to Egypt still packs in the crowds.

IAN CLARKE

As Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is my all-time favourite musical, I take some impressing when I go to watch Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's masterful creation performed on stage.

Since a few dozen reluctant parents first enjoyed it as a 20-minute school play way back in 1968, the production has seen incredible success and many of the nation's best-known celebrities have played the title role.

The wonderful story of Jacob's favourite son's fall and rise after being taken as a slave to Egypt still packs in the crowds.

And so it was at last night's opening show in Norwich with a near full house at the Theatre Royal.

Arvid Larsen was marvellous as the lead, showing off a wonderfully powerful voice and great stage presence.

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The part of narrator is arguably the production's toughest and Vivienne Carlyle was superb.

No good Joseph performance is complete without a strong Pharaoh and the audience loved Andy Lingfield – especially when they heard he had only arrived on Saturday to stand in for Trevor Jary, who has been taken ill.

One of the highlights of the evening was when he improvised beautifully to a shout of “more please” from a young voice in the stalls.

The show had everything. There was a dazzling rainbow of colours, breathtaking energy, lovely touches of humour and non-stop action.

Even when Any Dream Will Do – the 18th of the well-known songs – was over, the cast was not finished.

They brought the audience to their feet, got them dancing and clapping in the aisles and singing along as they went through a 10-minute reprisal.

So was I impressed?

It was more than impressive. It was awesome.

Joseph continues until Saturday, September 7. Box office: 01603 630000.

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