Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, Manchester Palace Theatre

Joseph remains my favourite cheesy musical. Despite the latest director’s occasional wanders off the original score where the story was dropped and there is a “what the hell” moment.

…But all that I say can be told another way, in the story of a boy whose dream came true…

This was my son’s first proper musical at age five, and he announced that he liked two songs. But given how enthusiastically he applauded I think this was a case of remembering two songs in the moment. We generally had a lovely evening or, catching the 5pm extra showing, with hot chocolate beforehand and sushi when it turned out we’d just missed a train and had nearly an hour to wait to go home.

https://youtu.be/tAofhYdtVa4
The children’s choir were very good, as was Trina Hill as narrator. I’d never before realised quite how bereft of women the cast is, as in children’s productions several of the brothers have been women. The semi-naked men were a bit of a distraction from that though, with the costumes well done.

With perspective the idea that all Joseph wants once he is a great success as an adult is the cost his dad had given him without any warning or effort does suggest a very primal need for family love and acceptance, but I suspect I am reading too deeply into Andrew Lloyd Webber’s light hearted musical there. Although Any Dream Will Do always raises a year, even if the emotions behind that change as I have aged.

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Phantom of the Opera

Turn your face away from the garish light of day

Turn your thoughts away from cold unfeeling light

And help me make the music of the niight

We saw the magnificent production of Phantom at Her Majesty’s Theatre in on the West End last night. The sets are fantastically luxurious, with the odd scene that was strongly reminiscent of 1980s music videos.

John Owen-Jones made a splendid Phantom, seductive with an edge of creepiness that gradually crept up to a murderous rage.

He contrasted well with Celinde Schoenmaker as Christine, who plausibly fell under his control, even as she fought him at every possible moment. She sang beautifully, with a convincing transformation from sweet-but-shy chorus girl to lead, and spellbinding performances as the story underwent transitions.