Slideshow: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat comes to Cambridge Corn Exchange

Cambs Times/Wisbech Standard Editor John Elworthy visits the opening night of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at Cambridge Corn Exchange.

DEFINING events from 1967 included the accidental bombing of a US navy ship by the Israelis, the first heart transplant by Dr Christian Bernard and the first Super Bowl.

And, of course, it was the year Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice staged their first ever production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat which is now enjoying a renaissance thanks to the pre-eminent status it was accorded during a Saturday night reality TV series.

Craig Chalmers didn't actually win the competition but no matter: he's the one whose been traipsing provincial theatres ever since in the title role and it must seem light years away from his previous musical incarnation in the short lived pop group entitled No Reason.

Joseph is the Christmas offering at Cambridge Corn Exchange and is a commendable alternative to more traditional fayre.

Bill Kenwright is not just the director but an impresario supremely in touch with populist culture and this contemporary, fast paced and adulatory extravaganza is nigh perfect family entertainment.

An exuberant cast sustain the momentum throughout as Joseph goes from rags to riches after being sold off for slavery by his band of brothers for being too much of a prima donna, only for them all to be reconciled once he becomes the Pharaoh's right hand man after successfully deciphering his new masters dreams.

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Along the way were treated to a stream of memorable hits that have stood the passage of time, and are gleefully delivered.

There's no intellectual challenge to Joseph and no underlying philosophical stance (save perhaps to be careful what you dream for!).

In essence you have a two-hour supercharged theatrical rollercoaster that is delightful, inclusive and undeniably cheesy.

As the concluding song from act one so succinctly puts it: Go Go Joseph.

(Joseph continues until January 3: tickets from Cambridge Corn Exchange, 01223 357851)

JOHN ELWORTHY

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