As a theatre goer of over forty years and a theatre critic I have seen many professional no expense spared productions but I love nothing better than getting back to the roots where it all begins. I first spotted Basics Junior Theatre School when I was invited by a friend to see a production of Miss Saigon in which her daughter was a dancer, Miss Saigon being my all-time favourite I decided to travel the Motorway Networks to watch this amateur production. I was not prepared to be blown away by the youth that performed that night such as Georgia Salkeld, Brandon Incles and Jake Simpson, these three were made for a career on stage and this sparked my interest in spotting the stars of the future. So when I was asked to review their latest performance of Joseph produced by the same production team I was not only honoured but excited to see how the new cohort of young budding actresses and actors would match their predecessors.
Basics Junior Theatre School has been established for over 29 years ago and they pride themselves on providing a professional yet family-like environment where their young performers are educated and inspired to deliver performances to the standard the professionals would be proud of. We met the Principal Andy Cooke and it was quite apparent his drive and enthusiasm for his theatre group was up and foremost which I have to say was thoroughly refreshing. It is quite clear they live up to their ethos, the performers are not only dedicated and talented they are our future big stars who many will no doubt tread the boards on the West End.
The whole atmosphere oozed community spirit from the volunteers, staff, preschool children right up to the elderly population from the area with many proud parents and family amongst the packed auditorium.
There have been many productions of Joseph both professionally and otherwise hence you would struggle to find someone who had no idea or insight into the story. A tall order for director Richard Sanderson but one in which he smashed it adding a few modern touches made it modern and interesting.
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is a musical with lyrics by Tim Rice and music by Andrew Lloyd Webber. The story is based on the "coat of many colours" story of Joseph from the Bible's Book of Genesis.
The production team paid attention to every detail from excellent choreography and lighting to Vocal instruction making it a visual and auditory sensation.
The show has little spoken dialogue; it is completely sung-through - Jess McGlinchey who played the narrator is in her second year of musical studies at The Manchester College eased her way through the scores making it look and sound effortless. She not only matched any professional vocally she owned the stage with great presence- This young lady is one to watch out for in the future.
Oliver Driver portrayed the role of Joseph a hard task to deliver at such a young age but he had great confidence and sang pitch perfect, I am sure this young man will grow over the years to become a man fit for a lead role in any big production out there.
With an energetic and talented ensemble, the show gives the audience everything they came for but for me the highlights where the beautiful costumes, excellent choreography and dedication of the cast and team, the Junior Choir sat beautifully and sang angelically throughout the performance.
This is a must see show not only for the feel good factor but to watch our potential stars of the future.
Well done everyone involved.
Review: Katie Leicester
Reviewed: 15th October 2015