Liverpool’s Empire Theatre has once again been transformed into a stage of many colours with the return of hit musical Joseph.
This time wearing the amazing technicolour dreamcoat in his first major theatrical appearance is X Factor 2009 winner Joe McElderry.
The singer gives a superb performance in this Biblical tale, which tells the story of young Joseph from Canaan whose position as Jacob’s favourite son and ability to interpret dreams irritates his 11 brothers.
Jealous, they plot to kill him, but change their mind when they spot a 'hairy bunch of Ishmaelites' and instead sell him as an Egyptian slave, telling his devastated father he’s been savaged by a goat. Poor, poor, Joseph.
McElderry gives a spine-tingling performance of Close Every Door, which comes as Joseph is chained up in a dark prison cell, putting him vocally in contention for the title of best Joseph ever.
But despite the apparently grim outlook for Joseph, the story, narrated by Trina Hill, is anything but dreary, with bright colourful costumes and dazzling sets featuring pyramids, inflatable sheep and tall palm trees.
A country and western-style performance of One More Angel in Heaven, a trip to Paris for Those Canaan Days, the Benjamin Calyso and well, what can only be described as a Pharaoh impersonating Elvis, takes the performance to the edge of pantomime at times – oh yes it does!
While Pharaoh’s (Ben James-Ellis) Stone the Crows adds a touch of humour and marks an important turning point in Joseph’s life, his subsequent number, King of My Heart, was arguably unnecessary in this snappy two-hour production.
However, it’s easy to see why this highly entertaining Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber musical captures the hearts of audiences time and time again – after all, what’s not to love about a show with a lengthy musical encore featuring Any Dream Will Do.
Whether you’re a fan of Joseph or a first-timer you should go, go, go, to see this uplifting performance before it leaves town.
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat runs at Liverpool Empire Theatre until Saturday, October 7. Tickets, starting from £12 (£13 online/phone), are available by calling 0844 871 3017.