Joseph and His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, London Palladium [review]

2021, review, theatre


On Monday, I surprised my partner with a trip to London – we spent the afternoon browsing shops (spending too much money in Forbidden Planet), getting absolutely drenched in a random thunderstorm and ended the evening with a trip to what accidentally became the opening night for the West End show Joseph and His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat at the London Palladium.

When I booked the tickets, it was anticipated that June 21st would be when everything opened up again and theatres were generally reopening on July 1st… then it all got pushed back, so July 12th – the night of the tickets I’d booked – was opening night! The theatre was at half capacity (but full volume), all refreshments were ordered and served to the seats and my partner and I with our silly long legs (at 5’10” and 6’7″) could spread out a little without feeling squashed by other people – personally I prefer the socially distanced theatre experience but that’s not the point.

Joseph is my fiancé and I’s joint favourite musical (my personal favourite is Les Misérables) and we’ve been talking about going for ages, so I saw a great deal on TodayTix and decided to go for it! And with a stellar cast like Alexandra Burke as the Narrator and Jason Donovan (the original Joseph!) as The Pharoah, it was one I wasn’t prepared to miss!

From the opening notes I was (literally) jumping up and down in my seat – live music and being in a real theatre felt like such a luxury after such a long time away and being able to bring my partner to our first West End show together was incredibly exciting.

The whole atmosphere of the show was one of fun – Alexandra Burke’s Narrator had lots of funny little side lines and comments and she carried the role fantastically. When she first appeared in all black with glittery shoes I was a bit dubious – the show is one of the brightest there is, with ‘Technicolour’ literally being in the title! – but having her costume as such a stark contract meant she was always easy to spy on stage and… what can I say, the shoes were glittery!

For a show that is so brilliantly random – with pop songs, country songs, an Elvis tribute, a Parisian ballad and a Jamaican steel drum number – it’s one that would feel pretentious if taken too seriously, but the whole production understood that Joseph is a wonderfully ridiculous musical and they leant into it, with the children stepping into key roles such as Potiphar, the Cook and the Butler was a really sweet touch and really funny, they all had such wonderful comedic timing.

And musical timing! The dance sequences in this show were actually so good, my marketing brain thought about putting them on tiktok because they were relatively simple but looked really effective when everyone was doing them so in sync. However, I have to shoutout the tap dance break in the middle of ‘One More Angel’ because they did tap dancing! I’m a sucker for tap and seeing it used in a commercial musical alongside lots of different styles was amazing (can someone get me a pair of tap sandals please?).

I also have to mention the Can Can sequence in Those Canaan Days – I won’t spoil it, but yes, I mean the Can Can sequence in Those Canaan Days.

To go with fantastic dance sequences, the set design was incredibly clever – from using lights to make the stage look like sand, the centre circles that raised in parts above the stage and dropped below the stage too, camels that were moved by pedal bikes and, the true highlight; the set for Pharoah’s scenes.

Jason Donovan, the man himself, is carried onto stage on a wonderful throne – the stage is lit in gold, there’s pillars of an Egyptian temple on the back wall of the stage, the centre circle is fully raised and statues of Anubis (the dog man) and Ra (the hawk man) are mid stage left and right (with electric guitars that slide in and out from side of stage and rotating heads with puppet mouths that sing along as backing to the Pharoah) and best of all… A Vegas esque sign that read something along the lines of ‘Welcome to Fabulous Egypt’ – flashing lights and all! The whole thing was so over the top in the most brilliantly tongue in cheek way and it was fantastic.

What more can I say? I need to give a special mention to the 10 amazing children that performed on opening night – I always have a weakness for children singing (the performance in the Nativity movie always makes me well up), children singing harmonies always blows me away but the girls in Close Every Door were just fantastic, as was Jac Yarrow as Joseph – he has such a perfectly pure tone and the passion he put in to the end of the song was just magical, I got goosebumps.

The whole experience was fantastic – to be in a theatre after 16 months of COVID-19 restrictions feeling safe and welcomed, in a show where the cast was having just as much fun as the audience and to only pay £6 for a programme?! All round, it was a fantastic evening. I can’t wait to spend as much time as possible at the theatre this year – the atmosphere of live musical performance is just second to none.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

Wonderland – Mayflower Theatre

2017, lifestyle, music, student


I was lucky enough to be invited to see Wonderland at Mayflower Theatre in Southampton by @sotonbloggers and I’m going to try and put into words how much I thoroughly enjoyed it. ‘Try’ being the operative word.

Every time I sit down in a theatre for any reason I get goosebumps – architecturally I find theatres to be absolutely beautiful and I love sitting in a room full of people who love musicals and shows as much as me – but when the first notes of the first song begin I will always feel like I want to cry just from pure joy. With musicals like Wonderland that combine more traditional orchestral instruments with modern rock instruments like drums and guitars make for an even more interesting opening number.

The music is one of the most incredible parts of Wonderland – the musicians were absolutely astonishing and seeing how small the band is and how huge the sound was just made it so much more impressive. The vocal performances in this show were astounding – Rachael Wooding, who played Alice, was incomparable. She completely nailed the childish wonder of Alice but had this huge voice that suited the fast, silly songs, the slow, emotional songs and the massive power ballad  duet ‘This Is Who I Am’ with Natalie McQueen as the Mad Hatter.

However the dancing in this show was as important as the singing and balancing the two is a difficult feat – there was some incredible choreography and some wonderful dancers, but credit has to go to Dominic Owen, who played a truly wonderful rendition of the Cheshire Cat and also managed to continue belting out a pretty big song whilst doing a handstand. As someone who can do a (rather rubbish) handstand and has had vocal training, I really appreciate how difficult that would have been and needed to talk about it.

‘Wonderland’ is quite a different take on the traditional story of Alice, with more of a focus on Through The Looking Glass, the sequel to the more commonly recreated Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. The musical follows a grown up Alice, reluctantly divorced and looking after her daughter Ellie whilst neighbour Jack is desperate to catch Alice’s eye. The Looking Glass is a key feature of the musical, as it completely changes who the characters are – whilst trying not to spoil it, it reverses what each character deems important, for example – nice, helpful, wonderful Ellie becomes a typical, stroppy teenager.

But for me, the most amazing part of The Looking Glass was the quick changes involved – I reckon Ellie and Jack were inside the looking glass for maybe 10 to 20 seconds and in this time they completely changed what they were wearing, how their hair was styled and without any fumbling or mishaps with mic packs. The whole production was so slick and well-rehearsed and completely without fault – I was completely immersed.

The Queen of Hearts saw a particular twist in this version of Alice in Wonderland.

One of the characters that saw the biggest changes was the Mad Hatter – she was not written as a traditionally male character, she had an incredible costume and an even bigger voice. She owned every song she sang and every word that came out of her mouth just oozed the character of the Mad Hatter – I wish there was a soundtrack or a studio recording of this show because I’d love to hear her songs again.

From the point of view of characterisation, the Mad Hatter and Alice showed some clear parallels and it was really interesting that writers Jack Murphy and Gregory Boyd chose those two characters to align, especially with the huge duet at the end of the musical – This Is Who I Am.

I can’t quite describe how much I adore this song – it has roots and inspirations from the duets in Wicked but the beautiful, powerful harmonies contrasted with the softer lines. I don’t know if it’s just something about the end of a musical when everything is starting to resolve and the characters realise that they’re strong and independent but I really wish there was a soundtrack recording I could listen to because I want this song and these girls singing on loop whenever I feel like I’m not good enough.

There’s a version on YouTube that doesn’t sound very legally recorded and I wouldn’t normally support that but I thoroughly recommend listening to the song, it’s just beautiful. Totally 100% worth seeing in person.

“This is who I am, who I really am, i’m not going to pretend or apologise”

Then, of course I can’t forget the boyband, led by Alice’s neighbour Jack – their songs and choreography were brilliant and ring true of N-Sync days gone past.

One of the reasons I went in to seeing Wonderland so apprehensively is because I’m not a massive fan of Alice’s story – I don’t particularly like the Disney film, I have no interest in the Tim Burton films and the whole concept just isn’t my cup of tea. But this unusual take on the story, the musical and the production have completely changed my mind – the way the story was interpreted and aspects of certain characters adapted and shown differently made me thoroughly enjoy it, hopefully I’ll get to see it again!

Wonderland is showing at the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton until Saturday 22nd April, to get your tickets called 02380 711811 or go to – students get more than 10% off tickets with a valid student card!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

Press ticket provided by Mayflower Theatre via @sotonbloggers. All photos belong to Mayflower theatre.

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