WORTH A LOOK?: ***
WHERE? London Palladium RUNTIME: 120 minutes (including 20-minute interval)
WHEN? 29/6, opens 11/7, booking to 8/9/19
We know we’re in safe hands when the always reliable Sheridan Smith channels Eric Morecambe from behind a fake moustache, confiding to the audience: ‘It’s still me.’
- Read on for reasons including why Yarrow gets the biggest applause here
Indeed the most memorable moments in this revival of one of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s best-loved musicals are those when national treasure Smith’s Narrator is goofing about explaining what is happening.
The loudest roar of approval from the predominantly young audience tonight though was when the bare-chested Jac Yarrow proves he’s more than a match for the stirring ballad Close Every Door.
Yarrow is not only making his West End debut but he doesn’t actually graduate from the Arts Educational School until the final night of this run on 8 September.
The origins of Joseph date back to the 60s and tells the coat of many colours story from the Bible’s Book of Genesis.
Arguably its most popular incarnation was in 1991 at this very venue when then pop star Jason Donovan starred and topped the singles charts with Any Dream Will Do and also the album charts with the cast recording.
It’s inspired casting to have Donovan return as the Pharaoh but anyone familiar with the show will be aware that it is essentially an Elvis parody appearing in only 2 songs before returning for the encore. Donovan’s never been the greatest of singers in our opinion and here he has the moves but his diction is poor.
In contrast Yarrow’s diction is faultless even when some of the lines are cringeworthy: ‘fratricide’ isn’t a word one might be expecting to hear alongside: ‘I am handsome, I am smart. I’m a walking work of art’ or ‘What I saw last night in my pyjamas was a long-range forecast for your farmers’.