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28 October 2014
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First night - 04.03.03
Stephen Gateley
Gateley compensates for his diminutive voice and stature with a winning charm
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Rice and Lloyd Webber's musical of many colours returns with ex-boy band star Stephen Gateley as Joseph. Our critic Mark Shenton reports...

 

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Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (New London Theatre)
"Jacob was the founder of a whole new nation/thanks to the number of children he'd had/He was also known as Israel, but most of the time/His sons and his wives, used to call him Dad"

It's lyrics like these - full of as much compact information as irresistible wit - that make lyricist Tim Rice's 1968 collaboration with composer Andrew Lloyd Webber still hit home today.

A youthful folly that is both ceaselessly tuneful and wonderfully inventive, there's an infectious pleasure both to the tunes and the words.

Jason Donovan
Jason Donovan in the 1991 Palladium revival

After the vastly overblown, self-consciously camp London Palladium revival in 1991 that starred Jason Donovan, it's really refreshing to engage once again with this show in a far more modest production which is much truer to the show's origins and real spirit.

jokiness

That's partly to do with being cheesy instead of camp - to share the jokiness already inherent in the score, rather than impose upon it with effects.

"The cartoon cut-out sets and naff panto choreography contribute towards the genial, generous atmosphere..."

The cartoon cut-out sets and props and naff panto choreography contribute towards the genial, generous atmosphere.

It's also performed with a guileless enthusiasm by a cast that, former Boyzone singer Stephen Gateley apart, is completely unknown (except, of course, to their mothers).

As for Gateley, though he's rather diminutive of both stature and voice in the title role, he compensates with a nervous and eventually winning charm.

Go, go, go Gateley, you're doing just fine!

Joseph and the...is at the New London Theatre, Drury Lane WC2 until 17 July. Tickets £15 - £40. Box Office: 0870 890 1110

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