For all that musical theatre brings to the stage — entertainment, brilliant costumes, catchy lyrics and memorable characters — it can also leave us with valuable lessons on life with barely a word uttered in monotone.
Chemainus Theatre’s latest musical adventure, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, does just that, as it teaches us the importance of forgiveness, a positive attitude and, of course, our dreams.
Based on the biblical tale in Genesis 39, Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat tells the story of a young, handsome and somewhat spoiled young dreamer, Joseph (played by Adam Charles), who is the apple of his father’s eye. This gets him into trouble with his 11 jealous brothers, who get even by selling him into slavery.
Narrated by the adorable and angelic Alison Macdonald, we follow Joseph through his trials and tribulations and eventual rise to power after he interprets the dreams of the Elvis-mimicking pharaoh (played brilliantly by Chemainus’s Ken Lavigne).
Joseph is reunited with his brothers when they come to Egypt, having suffered famine. At first, Joseph disguises himself and plays a trick on his brothers to teach them a lesson, but ultimately, he forgives them and is reunited with his father Jacob (played by Hal Kerbes) as well.
I am always continually impressed at how the Chemainus Theatre is able to revive the larger productions on its smaller stage, and Joseph was no exception.
Director Shane Snow has taken the tale of the coat of many colours and filled it with an entire cast of many talents. An effectively nice touch is the children’s choir (filled with a few familiar Ladysmith faces), making it a performance for all ages to enjoy.
With 25 songs performed in a delightful slew of genres (countrified One More Angel in Heaven, French café-style Those Caanan Days, and rock ‘n’ roll Song of the King), the production is a veritable feast for the eyes and ears. No two scenes are entirely alike, making the performance’s 160-minute runtime fly by like a dream.