London Palladium, London W1
Opened 12 June, 1991

Damn, and I was so looking forward to trashing this. We all know Joseph by now, and know it as a limited work and a product of its time. So does director Steven Pimlott, who works with mastery within these constraints to create a show which is knowingly self-parodic without ever becoming bludgeoning or apologetic in its camp, or devaluing the material itself. Genre numbers are genre'd up with enthusiasm, and pisstakes staged both of the period of the show's genesis (the '60s, natch) and of Jason Donovan as Joseph as saviour of Egypt as teenybop idol. Mark Thompson's design adds to the pervading spirit of fun, making mischievous use of the Palladium's legendary revolve.

Young Mr Donovan himself provides the requisite wide-eyed gee-whizzery for a hero who is predominantly passive, someone to whom things happen; Linzi Hateley's narrator belts with chutzpah, pizzazz and other words with "z" in them. My only carp: leave before the final encore, an alleged Megamix which seriously stinks. That, and one or two other minor caveats aside, this is [swallow; deep breath] a triumph from start to finish.

Written for City Limits magazine.

Copyright Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.

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