If you’re the type of culturally deficient person who really NEEDS a reason to enjoy a night out at the theatre, consider this: The staging of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at Cape Town’s Theatre on the Bay has such a stunning looking male cast, that you may as well go simply for the perve!
This Andrew Lloyd Webber musical with lyrics by Tim Rice has certainly done the rounds. It does, however, have a very camp appeal and in this instance the creators seem to have truly revelled in it. It is not surprising then to know that, in this incarnation, the show’s Musical Director is none other than Charl-Johan Lingenfelder, known for his unique and often controversial productions such as Almost the Sound of Music and ABBA(toir).
The story is a simple one. It follows the biblical tale of Joseph, who is his father’s favourite of 12 sons. After his father gives him a Dreamcoat as a gift, the other brothers are overcome by a jealous rage and sell Joseph into slavery. Naturally this act comes to bite them in their collective cute arses.
Yes, it’s true – Joseph and his brothers have been cast for more than merely their magnificent singing talents and superb dancing skills. They are all incredibly ‘easy on the eye’, with more than a handful being truly spectacular. This fact has thankfully been exploited by costume designer Craig Leo who has managed to keep the male cast as minimally dressed as possible – mostly they wear tight jeans and skimpy vests… sometimes only the tiniest of pink hotpants! Bravo Craig!
It is understandable where they get their flawless bodies. Many of the cast – even director Paul Warrick Griffin – have just completed a 3-year world tour of Cats. Others have recently performed in Pippin, African Footprint, Evita and Phantom of the Opera. This is really the cream of South Africa’s dancing and singing talent.
Joseph is played by newcomer Earl Gregory, who amply proves that he deserves the role. The part of Pharaoh was performed by ‘soap-slut’ Terrence Bridget during its Jo’burg run, but in Cape Town it is Anton Luitingh who does a sterling job in this larger than life role. The all-important character of Narrator is played by fag-hag theatre veteran Anne Power. Although not the most powerful performer, Anne’s innate showbiz ‘plastic’ persona makes her perfect for this irreverent part. Three wonderful back-up girls and a hysterical camp angel support her.
Perhaps the most standout performance, however, comes from Catherine Daymond who plays Potiphar’s overtly seductive wife. Sexy and powerful she elevates her short character appearance into one of the show’s highlights. To a large part it is the over-the-top characters and accomplished comical musical numbers that make this a great night out.
But gay audiences may want to book in the first three rows to be able to enjoy the spectacle of watching the male cast ripple and flex their way through their dance routines. And this time fate is on our side as an overwhelming twelve of the cast members are gay! Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is no critical work of art and neither is this production, but if it’s great escapist entertainment you want, you can’t do much better.
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat runs at Cape Town’s Theatre on the Bay until the 7th of January 2006. Book at Computicket or at the theatre: 021 438 3301.