It is all about Joseph just now as this week Jason Donovan announced he will return to the show – not as Joseph as he did 28 years ago though but as Pharaoh in a new West End production which will also star Sheridan Smith as the Narrator and newcomer Jac Yarrow as the lead. The news comes at a time as the new 2019 touring production directed by Bill Kenwright comes to Edinburgh for one week only.
This was the original Andrew Lloyd Webber & Tim Rice production and has lasted the sands of time to still thrill audiences and a new generation of followers. Sir Tim once told me (when we met at the Edinburgh Book Festival) that the original show was for a school production and lasted just 15 minutes. Who knew it would become a favourite on the musicals circuit and starred not only Jason Donovan but Donny Osmond, Lee Mead and Phillip Schofield. Now the touring show has Jaymi Hensley, who had previous success in 2013 with his band Union J on X-Factor. Who would have thought it? Young Jaymi excelled in this famous role handling the big production numbers with ease and some very critical audiences assessing his masterful performance of Any Dream Will Do, the most enduring song from the show.
So what is new to this ensemble? Well I noticed some slick choreography throughout this time around with Gary Lloyd adding to the original work by Henry Metcalfe who is still around and playing Jacob in the show and it was just fabulous. Narrator Trina Hill gets some challenging big songs throughout while Andrew Geater plays Pharaoh as a convincing Elvis as we expected.
One More Angel In Heaven and Coat Of Many Colours both remind us of what a great show this is and after the reprise the Club versions with mega lighting effects and dance remains the best ending of anything on stage. An emotionally overwhelmed Jaymi thanked his Edinburgh audience on opening night and I can see this young man reaching for new heights real soon
Edinburgh Playhouse till March 23