“How we miss his entertaining dreams”
An impromptu Easter treat came courtesy of a charity shop in Stratford-upon-Avon with this daft filmed version of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat featuring Ken-doll-in-human-form Donny Osmond as the titular entitled brother. It’s a rather odd screen adaptation, using a school show conceit to pay tribute to its theatrical origins/get away with a micro-budget (delete as you see appropriate).
This approach does allow for one genius moment as we see Joan Collins’ music teacher indulging in some amazing fake piano playing as the production starts, and from then we go way way back and enter the land of Canaan in the stagey but safe hands of Maria Friedman’s Narrator. I like Friedman, I really do, but she is so hammy here that she makes sitting in the back row of the upper circle seem like a sensible option to avoid being blinded by its glare.
Osmond mines a similarly cheesy vein, all superficiality and shiny white teeth, of which I was not a fan – I don’t mean to take Joseph too seriously but I do love the show and so perhaps have a little too much investment in it. To wit, I can’t tell you how much it bugs me when Josephs stress ‘importance’ rather than ‘I’ in ‘Close Every Door’. But if you’re a fan of the Osmonds, then you’ll probably be fine as he essentially does what he has always done.
There’s more fun in the supporting roles – Ian McNeice and Joan Collins as the mismatched Potiphars, Christopher Biggins and Alex Jennings as the hapless Baker and Butler – and the deliberately shonky design choices that recall the stage show with its motorised sheep, exceptionally characterised Ishmaelites and hand puppet snakes. Thankfully too, you can end this when the show proper finishes – there’s no megamix or additional reprises (save over the end credits) – that said, I still think you’re better off trying to catch it onstage on one of its unending tours.