Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is one of those curious musicals where everyone somehow knows all the songs, even if they can’t recall having ever actually seen it.
It’s most likely a faint memory from an early play at school and it’s that association which initially hampers this production of the UK’s longest running musical.
For the opening couple of numbers, it comes across a bit like a school play being performed on a cruise ship, from the gaudy set and dated instrumentation to the crazed fixed smiles.
Then, around the time of ‘One More Angel in Heaven’, it miraculously all clicks into place.
The sheer insanity of the whole thing comes to the fore, with the manic grins on the faces of the cast infecting the audience in a way that overthrows any cynicism and pulls you into a world of inflatable sheep, The X Factor winner Joe McElderry in theatre’s all-time least flattering costume, a wooden goat on a skateboard being torn limb from limb, an Elvis-impersonating Pharaoh, backing dancers dressed as quarterbacks, and a captivating range of inexplicably random accents. It’s all a bit like an acid trip in a Religious Studies class.
By the time you’ve reached the extended megamix of reprises that closes the show, it’s impossible not to have given in and embraced the madness.
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat really shouldn’t still work. The fact that it does, quite spectacularly, speaks volumes about the level of energy and fun thrown into the thing by every single member of the cast, particularly Jamie Jukes, Marcus Ayton and Emilianos Stamatakis.
You’ll be hard-pushed to find a more enjoyable night out at the theatre this summer.
Playing at Theatre Royal Brighton from Tuesday 14 to Saturday 18 June 2016.