Review: Joseph And The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat (Capitol Theatre)

Venue: Capitol Theatre (Sydney NSW), from Feb 11 – Apr 16, 2023
Lyrics: Tim Rice
Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber
Director: Laurence Connor
Cast: Trevor Ashley, Euan Fistrovic Doidge, Paulini
Images by Daniel Boud

Theatre review
Joseph’s brothers sell him off to a life of slavery, simply for loving himself a little too much in a rainbow coat. By the end of the biblical story we discover, quite unsurprisingly, a moral about forgiveness. These archaic tales seem always to place the onus on victims to make things right, and even though there is a valuable lesson in Joseph being the bigger person in the situation, there is no denying that his eleven brothers should have been taught in the first place, not to act like deplorable imbeciles.

The fable of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat however does include some moderately delightful fantasy aspects, involving Joseph’s abilities as a soothsayer. He interprets other people’s dreams, and tells the future. As with all clairvoyant types, Joseph is hopeless at predicting his own destiny, so even though his story ends with redemption, there is something deeply uninspiring about his general lack of agency. The songs by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, in this 50-year-old musical are not much more exciting, but nostalgia is always certain to appeal, especially to those in search of something gratuitously sentimental.

Performer Euan Fistrovic Doidge is a very attractive Joseph, convincing with his guileless charm, and delivering all the singing and dancing required with such effortlessness, he makes the job look like child’s play. Paulini contributes her marvellous voice to the staging, and is every bit the Sunday School teacher, as narrator in a show that sees her interacting with a lot of children. The Elvis-like Pharoah is played by a flamboyant Trevor Ashley, who proves a breath of fresh air, in something that has a tendency to feel dreary despite its resolutely vibrant title.

Those who enjoy too much colour and extravagance, know what it is like to be ostracised and condemned. Joseph was banished because he was deemed irksome, by brothers who felt inadequate in comparison, or who were simply envious. The divine will always elude the drab, and even though the drab seems always able to create oppression from their own deficiencies, it will always be the divine that will endure beyond.