I head down to the Abbey Theatre in Nuneaton to bring you this NAODS show review of Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat as it debuts for the first time on an amateur stage.
NAODS are Nuneaton’s oldest amateur dramatic society performing two shows a year, one in April and one in October. We have recently just performed to sell out Perfromaces in Nuneaton to ‘Disney’s The Little Mermaid’ in October 2022. This local company were proud to present the original Andrew Lloyd Webber West End smash hit and invited me along for the ride!
I very almost didn’t get to make it to the Abbey Theatre as tickets absolutely flew off the shelves and the performance was a complete sell-out. I found myself invited to come and join the lighting and tech team in their booth and took my seat to watch the show from a very different vantage point indeed.
Before the audience took to their seats I was given a quick tour of the stage. Simple palm trees set and building landscapes the Egyptian tone and Arabic cushions nestled in the corners of each side of the stage which added a little themed foreground to proceedings. It was a simple set but with a few quick lighting changes the entire mood and visual aesthetic changed with the press of a button.
I’m glad I got to see the inner workings of the show because as an audience member you really don’t appreciate all of the work that goes on behind the scenes especially the live orchestra that is in another room altogether composing the soundtrack. As an audience member you’d just assume the music was pre-recorded, I know I certainly did before I was told.
This extra level of effort and detail is a real statement piece from NAODS, they mean business. Knowing how much effort was put into producing these musicals voluntarily I was excited to see the final result.
The sensational Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat tells the journey of Joseph, son of Jacob and one of twelve brothers, and his coat of many colours. Based on the Bible’s book of Genesis, Joseph is a much-loved family classic.
It is based on the biblical story of Joseph, the son of Jacob, who was sold into slavery by his jealous brothers, but eventually rose to power in Egypt.
The second the cast took to the stage and the narrator is not only woven into the story but belts out some fantastic songs I knew this was going to be special.
Molly Benson played the role of Narrator One and came onto the stage with a presence I couldn’t quite put my finger on. Her vocal range was outstanding and her pitch-perfect delivery to bring the story to life had my jaw hitting the floor.
The production goes through 4 narrators with each one older than the last showcasing Joseph’s life as he himself grows older within the story. All four of them did an incredible job of drawing us into the story but Molly’s performance was certainly the highlight opening the show with such a stage presence and such professionalism at such a young age.
Utilising the small stage throughout the story was a breeze for this cast with numerous catchy numbers belting out to the audience and not a bad note or mistake was dropped the entire time. I’ve seen West End shows and even Broadway shows have blips here and there but there wasn’t a blip in sight during this production and that alone escalated the quality and delivery of this Andrew Lloyd Webber classic.
The music is catchy, upbeat, and infectious, with a blend of musical styles that ranges from rock and roll to country to reggae. The songs are memorable and instantly recognizable, with some of the most popular numbers including “Any Dream Will Do,” “Close Every Door,” and “Go, Go, Go Joseph.”
The cast of the production was all talented and skilled enough to deliver the complex harmonies and dynamic vocal performances required by the score.
Certain song highlights for me included Song Of The King where Elvis took to the stage delivering both heart and comedy to the scene. Girls went wild for Elvis before the king himself turned to his servants where one young man shrieked like a groupie during Elvis’s ravish performance quite hilariously.
Those Canaan Days was another song highlight for me that brought comedy into proceedings and certainly balanced out the story which for the most part isn’t all that cheery.
Tony George played the role of Joseph and for the first half of the show was more of a team player being included in the songs and carving the story out piece by piece.
The second half of the show dug a little deeper into Tony’s acting and performance skills as he carried the show with charm and beautiful musical renditions.
What stood out for me about Tony was his cadence and how he ends his songs almost providing a natural studio session fade out during his final notes. The second he ended a catchy number the audience would erupt and rightly so, we were witnessing not only Tony but a cast of individuals putting on a performance far higher than the level one might expect from amateur theatre.
The supporting cast is equally important and includes a range of colourful characters such as the Pharaoh, Potiphar, and Joseph’s brothers. The ensemble is also crucial to the success of the production, as they bring energy and vitality to the numerous dance numbers that are a key part of the show.
NAODS made the story easy to follow in this family-friendly musical and after faking their brother’s death the show dives into an uplifting message about forgiveness, redemption, and the power of dreams.
Joseph and the Technicolour Dreamcoat is a classic musical production that has stood the test of time and the fact that NAODS are the first amateur theatre to deliver this production is a testament to all those involved.
From the background dancers to the lighting techs, from the lead stars to the guy who sweeps up after the show has ended they’re all a part of this production and the togetherness is rather infectious. Promptly directed and magically executed Joseph’s dreamcoat wasn’t the only magical thing on the Nuneaton stage that evening.
Sitting in my little corner typing up notes on the show everyone around me was hugging and congratulating one another on a job well done and a job well done they did too.
I eagerly await the next production from NAODS at the Abbey Theatre because, with a cast and crew like that, anything is possible!
Thanks for checking out this NAODS show review, to find out more about NAODS please visit https://www.naods.org/