Review of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at Brentwood Centre

“We all dream a lot – some are lucky, some are not, but if you think it, want it, dream it, then it’s real. You are what you feel”.

The community in Havering have taken their dreams to the stage and performed the amateur concert version of ‘Joseph’, first seen 20 years ago at Methodist Central Hall in Westminster. The musical is the first of what they promise to be a tradition of annual community musicals based at Brentwood Centre, a development headed by Producer Mark Reed.

Joseph is a difficult musical to preform, with little spoken dialog it relies on excellent singing from the entire cast and most people will already have their favourite Joseph, whether it was Jason Donovan, Joe McElderry, Phillip Schofield or Gareth Gates.

Chesney Hawkes was an amazing choice to play Joseph, anyone who had heard his chart topping songs knows he has a fantastic voice and he even took to the stage with a guitar during the first half, singing a heart wrenching performance of ‘Close every Door’. He also proved a great actor, following the traditional script and throwing in jokes through the night about his 1991 song ‘The One and Only’ that had the audience in stitches.

The actors did a great job performing the difficult parts of Joseph’s 11 brothers, each brother showed their separate personality while having to perform as a group. Any scene the brothers were in always left a smile on my face and they all showed great skill with comic timing as well as performing the large variety of song styles, including; ‘One more angel in Heaven’ in a country western style, ‘Those Canaan Days’ in the style of a French Bistro and ‘Benjamin’s Calypso’ in a reggae style.

My favourite character in Joseph has always been the Elvis-esque singing of the Pharaoh and the performance of Rob Tigerman Hewes outdid anything else I’ve seen before. His entrance was closer to something you’d see at a large pop concert, with a huge spotlight as he walked down the centre’s stairs, as he walked down them he flirted with various members of the audience, I’m surprised that no-one swooned.

The people who really took my breath away were the large choir. Featuring around 150 people, the choir features a variety of talented singers, between the ages of 6 and 82 and they are on the stage all night. The whole show had a large sense of community with actors leaving and joining the choir as they played their various parts and members of the choir waving at their friends during the interval. Just after the interval they played a video that showed members of the cast talking about the project and they spoke about the joy of coming to play these parts as well as the sense of friendship and family amongst all of the cast.

Joseph is a huge community production and all involved should be proud of what they have accomplished. We are certainly hoping this leads to more community shows in the future that we can get involved in.

HornchurchLife’s Reviews have appeared in Trident magazine, Musical Theatre Review and The Residents Website. If you would like to feature them on your website or magazine, contact us at HornchurchLife@gmail.com