REVIEW: Joe McElderry in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Sunderland Empire, Until June 4
It was a very special night as Joe McElderry kicked off a home run of Joseph.
The South Shields lad took to the stage at the Sunderland Empire last night in the first of a week of shows in his home region.
The atmosphere was electric from the moment he appeared. He was met by a deafening cheer from the audience, which didn’t let up throughout the evening.
It’s been just over a month since I went to see the show ahead of its Sunderland leg, and it was even more spectacular the second time around.
Joe stars in the title role of Jacob’s favourite son in this biblical rock opera.
After being gifted a dazzling multi-coloured coat by his dad (Henry Metcalfe), Joseph’s 11 brothers become green with envy and plot to get rid of him.
After being sold as a slave, he ends up in Egypt where his incredible knack for deciphering dreams sees him become the Pharaoh’s right hand man.
Joe is incredible in the iconic role. It suits him perfectly. Not only does he have the voice to pull off those famous songs, but he looks the part with his curly tresses, and has the acting and dancing firmly locked down.
His roof-raising rendition of Close Every Door is without a doubt, the show-stealing moment.
The crowd fell silent as he began the emotional ballad, completely enthralled by the story-telling of his beautiful voice. And as the song builds and builds, Joe’s powerhouse vocals get stronger and stronger until he hits that big finale note – it’s a goosebump-inducing moment.
Joe gave a lively and charismatic performance and clearly loved every minute he spent in front of his home crowd. I wouldn’t like to be the next actor taking on the role – what an act to follow.
Joe has really found his footing in the musical theatre world. I can’t wait to see which role he takes on next.
Lucy Kay was phenomenal too as the Narrator. Like Joe, she’s rarely off stage, carrying the show by leading the cast through the tracks and keeping the audience up to speed with the story.
She can really belt it out and she has incredible range – she hit some notes that seemed impossibly-high. She’s instantly likeable in the role.
The brothers, some of whom fill other roles in the show too, injected so much comedy into the evening.
Their performance of Western-style One More Angel in Heaven is still a firm favourite in the show for me. Along with classically-French Those Canaan Days and the Caribbean twist of Benjamin Calypso, they take each style on fantastically.
Despite their dastardly plot to dispose of their brother, you can’t help but love them. They’re great guys really, just nobody seems to notice.
He was poorly the first time I went along to see the show, so I was pleased to see Emilianos Stamatakis take on the role of the Pharaoh as I’d heard good things.
The actor, who also plays brother Judah, didn’t disappoint. His portrayal of the Elvis-inspired leader was brilliant.
His toe-tapping rendition of Song of the King was met with whoops and cheers while his performance of King of My Heart soothed the crowd into silence, with the exception of the odd chuckle and acknowledgment of references to the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. It was the perfect mix.
Metcalfe, who also plays Potiphar, was great as Jacob. He’s so sweet in the role that you just wanted to head down to the stage and give him a hug.
The entire cast gave an exceptional performance at what really did feel like a special night of the tour.
The colourful show closes with famous track Any Dream Will Do and the audience gladly joined in to provide backing vocals before jumping to their feet in a standing ovation.
A special mention too needs to go to the Joseph Choir. The youngsters, who sat on the stairs at either side of the stage, were wonderfully professional as they backed up the cast.
If you haven’t got tickets yet, make sure you’re quick to grab some before they’re all sold out.
Joe is at the Sunderland Empire with Joseph until Saturday, June 4. Click here to book tickets.