Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Presented by the Canberra Philharmonic Society
Erindale Theatre 4th - 20th March 2010

Reviewed by Bill Stephens

Philo's spectactular new production of the Andrew Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice over-familiar musical certainly ticks all the right boxes. Imaginative direction, inventive choreography, glittering costumes, spectacular lighting, excellent sound, a charismatic leading man and an enthusiastic and talented ensemble, all contribute to make this a memorable production.

Jeff Van de Zandt, with his good looks, attractive singing voice, and self-affacing charm, is well cast as Joseph, the young man who survives bullying by his brothers to become the the most powerful man in Egypt. However "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" is a director's show, and in his first production for the Canberra Philharmonic Society, Gordon Nicholson has set himself a high bench-mark. He crams this production with spectacle and movement while still insuring that the story-telling is clear throughout.

His device of sharing the role of the narrator between a Greek chorus of 12 women works brilliantly, balances the ensemble, and provides opportunity for Musical Director, Leisa Keen, to write some lovely additional vocal arrangements to highlight several fine voices in the ensemble. Excellent amplification and clear diction from the whole ensemble add to the pleasures of this production.

Choreographer Jordan Kelly has a flair for devising interesting ways of moving large numbers of people around a stage. His production numbers, which involve a large children's choir and adult ensemble, are truly spectacular, and contribute greatly to a production to be relished for its imagination, flair and superb execution. Don't miss it!

(An edited version of this review appears in "CityNews" published 10th -16th March )