and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat
or Robbie and the other
guys from Take That De Montfort Hall, Leicester
the shows myself and 'the wife' have been to of late, this was the one
where although anticipation had been shown, no leaning one way or another
could be drawn and yet this was to be an evening's entertainment that
would draw the greatest talking point.
34 Years ago, the now 'cash-point' pairing of
Lloyd-Webber and Rice, then relative unknowns in the World of the stage
had been collaborating together for two years and it was a project on
a vaguely religious subject, requiring only 15 minutes of music that was
to change their fate forever and possibly 'musical dictation' in the process.
The team had given themselves the challenge of relaying narrative without
dialogue and therefore telling the bible story chosen, entirely through
lyrics, aided by music offered up by Lloyd-Webber's eclectic musical taste.
So it is here that we arrive, a hugely popular musical that exceeds in
age many of the audience gathered here this evening, and indeed those
performing. Whilst set over 3,000 years ago, the production echoes the
time at which it came into existence, that of the swinging sixties. So
what was my first impression as the cast took to the stage in the opening
number, 'Jacob and Sons', this was the 'Rainbow' team, headed by Mr. Chuffy,
the character from the comedy show 'Armstrong and Miller', all that was
missing was his big hat and the naked vets. But as we proceeded into the
production, further thoughts of naff-ness were banished and I began 'reading'
the story presented in front of me, just as the writers had intended,
through lyrics and musical presentation of the musical that seems to go
on and on. In fact my first encounter with 'Jacob and Sons' had occurred,
age six, around-a-bout the time of another musical uprising and out spoken
Now at probably the same age as when my parents first took me to see Maynard
Williams and a suitably psychedelic production of the same musical, how
did it stand up? Well judging by the programme I still have today, time
has perhaps not been so gracious toward Joseph and his hote-couture. In
our present climate of wide screen telly, digital sound and special effects,
I did feel that so much more could've been put into this production. The
costumes and set could have been 'bigger', certainly the sound might have
been given that touch of sparkle and the stage seemed so much smaller.
That said the comedy was put into numbers well, and the pink feather duster
included in the Noel Coward production piece was a nice touch.
Although the 'Mrs.' went away a 'happy bunny', I couldn't help thinking
"well ok, but give me Gladiator any day". Better luck next time.