The timeless story of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat has again graced the Australian stage, this time presented by the Mountain District Musical Society. Director and choreographer Keith Stubley has combined outstanding costumes, well designed set pieces, and an energetic cast, to create a nostalgic, colourful and fun for all show. Accompanied by the incredible orchestrations led by musical director Malcom Huddle, MDMS captures the essence of the well loved story of Joseph, and delivers an overall strong performance.
The cast are a strong collective, hitting perfect harmonies and projecting well when singing together. However, some individuals were not as strong as others in solo parts, and microphone issues were to blame for a number of lines being lost and lack of projection throughout. Whilst their vocal performances were brilliant, the emotional spine of the story was lost and could have been a lot deeper and invested in.
In the role of Joseph, Nathan Arnold gives a stunning vocal performance whilst creating his own version of Joseph rather than recreating one we’ve seen before. Arnold, despite wearing a greatly distracting wig, engages the audience with his mostly emotional performance and vast expressions. Amy Larsen, playing the Narrator, wowed the audience with her exceptional vocal performance, but lacked the subtlety of just portraying the teller of the story, and eventually appeared a more important character than Joseph (Arnold).
Joseph’s eleven brothers all worked well together on stage with the most outstanding performances coming from Brenton Van Vilet whose vocal portrayal of Issachar in “Those Caanan Days” beautifully captured the desperation of their situation, and Jake Remmington as Judah who provided some wonderful harmonies throughout the show and a brilliant falsetto in his stand out number “Benjamin Calypso”.
The costuming brilliantly captures the essence of the 1999 filmed version of Joseph and covers the stage in stunning colours making it impossible to choose a favourite. The set is captivating and well designed, despite some minor staging complications with the Pharaoh (Liam Kilgour) not being visible to those sitting on the edges of the theatre for majority of his opening song.
The choreography by Keith Stubley boosted the energy of songs and well reflected the era of the performances, although it was clear that some things could have been cleaner.
Danny Issko’s lighting design made a huge impact during the more emotional parts of the show as well as again creating a fun and energetic environment full of colour and excitement.
The downfall of this performance came from the “Megamix” that occurred at the end of the production. Whilst the children’s choir only performance was adorable and understandable, the full cast reprisal of almost every song during the bows was unnecessary and drawn out. It took away from the actual performance and felt considerably forced and unnatural.
Despite some costume malfunctions and clearly visible stage hands, MDMS delivers a joyous production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat perfect for families of all ages, with some minor adjustments the show could continue to please audiences for a very long time.