How We Loved His Coat of Many Colours!
May 25, 2016 at 1:51 PM
Middle School Production
One of the happiest musicals to be brought to the Saint Kentigern stage, the Middle School production of ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’ was a fantastic combination of light, sound and sheer energy from a cast, choir, orchestra and crew that involved over 100 students, mainly from Years 9 and 10.
Not known to many, this light-hearted adaptation of the biblical account of Joseph of Canaan (from Genesis: Chapters 37 to 46), began its life in 1967 as a 20 minute ‘pop cantata’ for an Easter concert at a London school. The popularity of this first performance saw it revived and further expanded in the mid-70s. With new numbers added, the show evolved, eventually making its way from the West End to Broadway – from where it has continued to circle the globe for over 40 years. Our own lively interpretation charmed our audience in much the same way it has charmed audiences around the world with its irrepressible vitality and most eclectic musical variety!
In the title role, Matthew Turner played Joseph with a polished confidence that belied his age. Bringing great depth to the character, Matthew provided the moments when the hectic pace of the show slowed down in poignant contrast to the action – he delivered ‘Close Every Door To Me’ beautifully, sung on a stark set with lights casting prison bars across his face. Matthew certainlyproved his vocal versatility and his ability to sing was a delight.
The ‘Joseph’ score provides for a large onstage choir, greatly extending the opportunity for more students to be involved. Sitting on the steps of a pyramid to the side of the stage, their voices rose in choral counter melody in songs such as Joseph’s enduring number, ‘Any Dream Will Do.’
The role of Narrator was split three ways between Amelia Elliot, Scarlett Jacques and Venice Qin. Perfectly matched, they carried the thread from the opening number to the closing chorus, sometimes taking the lead and, at others, singing in harmony. Dressed in modern day black, they blended into the action but also stood in contrast, ‘telling the story’ with great conviction and powerful singing.
‘Joseph’ is a ‘sung-through’ show using a plethora of musical styles, giving the performers plenty of opportunity to ‘ham-up’ a number of the songs – something they did with relish! And so it was that ‘One More Angel in Heaven’, with its send-up of an ambling country and western number, set the scene for a show bent on audience appeal! A calypso that bounced around Pharaoh’s court gave many of our dancers a chance to shine and the fabulous solo performance by River Morgan, as one of the brothers, in ‘Those Canaan Days’, brought an unexpected touch of Montmartre, through his nostalgic rendition of a Gauloise chanson. Through the range of musical styles, the cast stepped up to the mark, swapping styles with ease to confidently deliver each of the numbers.
One of the focal points of the show was undoubtedly the strutting, hip-jutting Pharoah - via Memphis, Tennessee! Enough to make Elvis Presley himself sit up and take notice, Jack Horsnell brought the best of rock and roll to Egypt with unabashed enthusiasm for the role, flanked by a superb troupe of dancers!
The energy, colour and drama on stage continued to grow to the superb finale which brought every member of the cast on stage to join in the reprise. The joy on the faces of this young cast was clear to see! We’ll look forward to seeing many of them onstage again as they move into their senior years.
Talent may abound on the stage but the unseen commitment of those working behind the scenes is equally huge. Teamwork and dedication from both the cast and crew provided the hallmark for success. From the opening number to the closing chorus, you were left with no doubt that this team had enjoyed every moment of bringing this show to the stage.
‘It was red and yellow and green and brown and scarlet and black and ochre and peach and ruby and olive and violet and fawn and lilac and gold and chocolate and mauve and cream and crimson and silver and rose and azure and lemon and russet and grey and purple and white and pink and orange and blue!’
A TWIST TO THE SHOW
‘Joseph’ was last performed on the College stage in 2005. Then, Mr Ashton Brown, as a Year 13, played the role of Joseph with a young Mr Oliver Gilmour in the orchestra. Eleven years on and the pair, now College staff, took on the role of Director and Musical Director, teaming with another Old Collegian, Miss Morgan Heron, as Choreographer! In 2005, Mr Brown was also joined on stage by Old Collegian and now current College Choral Director, Mr Lachlan Craig who played the role of one of the ‘brothers.’
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