Review: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Lower Ossington Theatre)

Remember when Donny Osmond did the film version of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat? I remember when his performance made my 11-year-old heart flutter when I watched the VHS every day for two months. Embarrassing. Regardless, Joseph (sans Donny) is currently playing at the Lower Ossington Theatre.

Joseph is a story from Genesis, the first book of the Bible. It tells the tale of Joseph, one of Jacob’s 12 sons. Joseph was his father’s favourite son and, as such, was hated by all of his brothers who opted to sell him to be a slave. Through a bizarre series of events, Joseph becomes to right-hand man to the Egyptian Pharaoh. 

Now, long before my time here and Mooney on Theatre, before theatre school, back when my theatre education was just beginning in a small South Eastern Ontario town largely populated by cows, I myself took part in a production of Joseph. Yes, I played the beloved role of ‘Reuben’s Wife’. While I didn’t have any lines or even a name, I believe I shook the audience to their cores with my charisma and unwavering ability to remember all of the colours in the coat. No small roles, as they say.

I took my delightful work companion Mandie to the show with me on the evening of the 15th. Mandie hadn’t been to a show in forever, so she was very excited for this production. As we left the theatre, I asked her what she thought. “I’m kind of in awe,” she said simply as she stared down at her fabulous heels.

The production itself, in my opinion, was very easy-to-consume, almost musical-theatre-by-numbers. Personally, I would have liked to have seen more risks taken and a lot of the numbers in the first act seemed under-rehearsed, particularly in large dance sequences.

However, I have to say that I totally bought in after the second act began. With the entrance of pharaoh, the entire cast seemed to be having more fun and the energy in the space lifted considerably.

I have to applaud director (and musical director) Robert Wilkinson for using three actresses in the role of the narrator. This allowed for some chill-inducing harmonies and fun fourth-wall-breaking.

Mandie repeatedly noted that she really enjoyed Rebecca Perry, one of the narrators. Her sassy and sexy interpretation of the character really worked for Mandie.

I have to mention Jada Rifkin, who also played one of the narrators. I saw Ms. Rifkin earlier this year in A Chorus Line and called her out as a triple-threat to watch. She doesn’t disappoint in Joseph. It’s hard to take your eyes off her onstage; she’s truly meant to be entertaining. Other performances worth noting are Adam Proulx in the role of Pharaoh – swoon – and Becky Robinson, who plays various roles, all of which display her stunningly powerful voice.

Overall, the show didn’t blow my mind, but it would be great for a family outing or a feel-good evening of fun with some friends.

Details:

– Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is playing at the Lower Ossington Theatre (100A Ossington Ave) until December 30th.
– Performances are Tuesday through Saturday at 8pm (no show December 24th), matinees on December 18th at 4pm, December 20-21 and 27-28 at 1pm.
– Ticket prices range from $40.00 – $60.00 with student tickets for $20.00
– Tickets are available by phone at 416-915-6747 or online

Photo of the company by Seanna Kennedy