A high-energy production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat captures the boundless optimism of the era in which the musical was created.

The show that helped launch the Andrew Lloyd Webber phenomenon began as a community theatre project in 1968 when Swinging London was at the peak of its psychedelic mayhem.

At a time when everything seemed possible and rule-books were gleefully torn to shreds, Webber and lyricist Tim Rice strung together a wildly eclectic blend of musical styles to retell a story from the Book of Genesis that describes how the world of dreams can bend reality towards a display of mercy and forgiveness.

Jonathan Roxmouth as Pharaoh during a media call for the opening of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat.
Jonathan Roxmouth as Pharaoh during a media call for the opening of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat.

With lighting effects that would not have been out of place at a 1970s disco, the touring production lacks the visual panache which has become a hallmark of modern musicals. But the low-key style is in keeping with the spirit of the piece and it focuses attention on excellent performances from an ethnically diverse cast sourced out of South Africa's rainbow nation.

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In the lead role, Earl Gregory has enormously appealing stage presence, a sweet tenor and sharp dance moves.

There is some sizzling dance from Thalia Burt as Potiphar's wife and Jonathan Roxmouth has the audience at his finger-tips with an amusing parody of Vegas-era Elvis that overcomes the incongruity of seeing the rock icon decked out in a skirt with knee-length socks and golden sneakers.

The strongest vocal performances feature the band of 11 brothers who switch from an old-time country hoe-down to the cool vibe of calypso and deliver a remarkably powerful rendition of Those Canaan Days.

What: Joseph & the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat
Where & When: The Civic to April 30
Reviewer: Paul Simei-Barton