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Fun for all the family

Ian H Watkins is Joseph
Ian H Watkins is Joseph

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury

Ian ‘H’ Watkins is still best known as a member of 1990s pop group Steps, but he has been hard at work for the past few years carving a solo career, even going back to college to study musical theatre.

And his efforts were definitely worth it, judging by his performance as Joseph in the latest production of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s hit musical.

H is captivating in the lead role, giving a powerful performance of well-known songs such as Close Every Door and Any Dream Will Do, and building a great rapport with the audience.

Mention must also be given of the Welsh star’s impressive physique, as he dons little more than a shiny loincloth for most of the show.

The musical, based on the Biblical story, started life back in 1968 as a 15 minute cantata for performance by a school choir, before being expanded into a full-length show, and this production still has a very family-friendly appeal.

Its staging is purposely unsophisticated, with comical props including inflatable sheep and cut-out cardboard camels, and the show’s narrator, Jennifer Potts, looks like a CBeebies presenter, wearing a waistcoat decorated with stars and moons.

Ian H Watkins in Joseph
Ian H Watkins in Joseph

A children’s choir are on stage throughout, to provide backing vocals for the adult cast, and youngsters are sure to enjoy the bright colour and variety of the show.

Each song has a different style with related costumes and props, including the French ballad parody Those Canaan Days (stripy tops and berets), western lament One More Angel In Heaven (cowboy hats), 1920s swing number Potiphar (flapper dresses and spats), and the tropical Benjamin Calypso (fruit headdresses and frilly shirts).

A particular highlight was Luke Jasztal, as the Pharoah, donning an Elvis-inspired jewelled jumpsuit to sing Song of the King in the style of the rock ‘n’ roll legend.

Joseph may not be sophisticated enough for everyone’s taste, but if you fancy a fun night out, watching a young and talented cast perform some incredibly catchy songs, then it is not to be missed.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is at the Marlowe Theatre until Saturday, September 21. Tickets from £18. Call 01227 787787. Ian ‘H’ Watkins will not be appearing in the 5pm performance on Friday, September 20.

The show will also be at the Orchard Theatre, Dartford from Tuesday, October 15 to Saturday, October 19. Tickets from £16. Call 01322 220000.

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