Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

2373

Au_14_Joseph2_fullsizeA view from within

The production of Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in Otaki this month demonstrates that good theatre is not the sole preserve of the city. It is truly good theatre. The Otaki Players, with ambition and courage, have once again given the Wellington region one of the best shows of our time and delivered it with style and energy worthy of any stage anywhere.

Under the direction of Linda Buckley and Nikki Powell, the raw material of Otaki and its hinterland (Levin and Waikanae are definitely the hinterland of Otaki when it comes to theatre) were transformed into a troupe of first class singers and dancers.

The linchpin of “Joseph” is without question the Narrator which was sung by Katherine Goodwin. She has a presence on stage to match a lovely voice. The title role is carried by Nick O’Brien, a young man with a fine voice and a great natural talent which was discovered here in Otaki.

Was there ever a more motley bunch of rustics than

Joseph’s brothers, Jacob’s sons? You can savour the aroma of camel sweat – or something – and men who haven’t washed for some time. But then the subtle humour of Tim Rice comes out when they adopt French accents and “raise their berets” as they reflect on past times. Some very good singing voices come out, too, with the brothers’ flow of dubious grief to Jacob after their “repulsive crime,” using pitifully empty clich├ęs – “There’s one more angel in heaven” and so on.

Then there’s Potiphar (Peter Edwards), the captain of the Royal Household Guard – a cross dresser?!?! Darling!! This is a local twist for us to enjoy. More of that humour can be found when Pharoah, the King of Egypt, (Anthony Butterfield) becomes Elvis Presley the King of Rock n’ roll; all the macho deep-throat, postures, gestures and pelvic mobility which we all wondered at only a few short decades ago are there – and what is he singing about? Jolly cows and a creek!!

For us to admire are the damsels, especially Mrs Potiphar (Jenny Ferguson) who would make a man of Joseph at any time. They, the damsels, grace the stage as only beautiful, well costumed women can. Nikki Powell’s choreography and exacting movements are a sight worth seeing in themselves.

Surely a star was born here with Tua Faavale’s calypso number; with infectious exuberance he danced the stage to save Benjamin his brother – “Save him: take me!” And that daring break-dance – have you ever seen the like? There will be other stages for him. But remember, he came from here.

Au_14_Joseph1Brent Bythell was an absolute natural for his role as Jacob. Were there any dry eyes in the house when he met his long lost Joseph at the end?

Graham Orchard’s superb musical direction of the live orchestra is not his only feature. He also brought to bear tons of hard work, patience, tolerance and good humour. And the end result was — SPECTACULAR!!!

The experience of those children being on the stage singing and dancing will live with them forever, and everyone who saw them. Seeing those girls close up going through their movements with fluidity, confidence and joy, and singing their song, was a special moment. They grasped it with both arms. What a delight they were!

Those most creative women in the wardrobe led by Nancy Carr have yet again provided, from their ingenuity, a range of costumes which “AMAZE.”

They do it all the time. Those who saw the show will be surprised to learn that the camel was not actually real.

Surely the line between amateur and professional is blurred. Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s creation has been in good hands here on the edge.

By SELWYN BOORMAN

Au_14_Joseph4Otaki Players Triumphant

Roger Thorpe, past-president of the Otaki Players was thrilled with the production.

“Twelve performances, 1,900 attendees, a total success”

Everyone in the show worked as a team. Altogether over a hundred people participated. There were 59 in the show, 19 children front of stage and another 40 in the background.

In total, the production cost as much as $20,000 to stage. It took the Otaki Players three months of dedicated work to produce.

“It was an exceptional performance”, said Roger.

The Otaki Mail can only agree. What other New Zealand town can boast an amateur theatre of this quality ?

Roger Thorpe, past-president of the Otaki Players was thrilled with the production.

“Twelve performances, 1,900 attendees, a total success”

Everyone in the show worked as a team. Altogether over a hundred people participated. There were 59 in the show, 19 children front of stage and another 40 in the background.

In total, the production cost as much as $20,000 to stage. It took the Otaki Players three months of dedicated work to produce.

“It was an exceptional performance”, said Roger.

The Otaki Mail can only agree. What other New Zealand town can boast an amateur theatre of this quality ?

By Lloyd Chapman

Au_14_Josepg3