ALLIE FORD's 1st REVIEW
Show: Joseph, 11th May 2000, 2pm
Location: Opera House, Manchester
Joseph: Arvid Larsen
Narrator: Vivienne Carlyle
Jacob/Potiphar: Tim Goodman
Mrs. Potiphar/Handmaiden: Annabelle Dalling
Butler/Reuben: Ben Harlow
Baker/Napthali: Russel Hicken
Levi: Ellis Kerkhoven
Issachar: Joe Connors
Asher: John Melvin
Dan: Ben Stock
Zebulun: Stuart Tayler
Gad: Iain Pritchard
Judah: Carl Jones
Benjamin: Jason Heppenstall
Handmaidens: Lisa Quibell
Just some background, before I begin - I work at the Regent Theatre in Stoke in a voluntary capacity, so I've seen the show with the 'old' cast as well as the new one - this is the 10th show I've seen... The audience was full of junior school kids who really got into the show.
The show kicked off really well with the narrator singing the introduction, then it was time to meet the "new" Joseph. My first thoughts were "he's really tall!" Arvid has a voice which sounded lower than Tim's/Ellis's, but was very powerful. We got through "Any Dream Will Do" and into the rest of the show - Arvid's Joseph came across as arrogant (rather than Tim's more naive Jo) - he knew he was the "special one" and flaunted it in front of his brothers, likewise with the dreams - he knew he was going places, and made sure everyone else knew it!
The one thing I noticed missing with the new cast was any apparent affection between Joseph and Benjamin - there was a real spark with Tim and Mark, which didn't seem to be quite there with this cast, though I suspect it will come with time...
Arvid's strong voice worked really well with "Close Every Door" - it sounded fantastic; you could really believe that he was scared and alone in his cell...
The usual Pharaoh (Trevor Jary) was ill, and someone else understudied (but I'm afraid I didn't catch the name in the announcement), playing the role well.
Then we get to the role-reversal: Joseph's anger was palpable - especially when he discovered that Benjamin had the cup - again Arvid's powerful voice was an asset to the part. "Benjamin Calypso" flew by in the usual riot of colour, and the reunion was emotional too. At the end of the reprise of "Go Go Joseph" the cast came down into the auditorium and shook hands with some of the audience while singing the end of the song, which was a really nice touch.
All too soon, the show was over and we were into the encores... there was a brief hiccup when Pharaoh's mic didn't work in the reprise of "Pharaoh's Dream", but that was soon sorted.
The main difference between this show and any I've seen previously was the lack of an invitation to the audience to join in at the end - needless to say, this didn't stop your intrepid reviewers from dancing, singing, clapping our hands and enjoying ourselves, though we were the only people in the stalls (apart from 2 others on the other end of our row) who did get up (I don't know if this was deliberate since there were so many young school kids in there or not), though from what we could see, all the circle were on their feet by the end.
All in all a great show - comparable to any I've seen. The new cast have taken to their roles well, and the continuing cast were up to their usual excellent standard...
Thanks for a great show guys, and hope to see you again at Wolverhampton...
This is Allie Ford signing off...