The hit musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat will be performed in Dubai for the first time this month featuring an international cast. Maey El Shoush speaks to the performers
On show from Friday to April 13 at Madinat Theatre at Souk Madinat Jumeirah, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is Andrew Lloyd Webber's and Tim Rice's musical based on the ancient story of Joseph, whose brothers plot to kill him after suspecting that their father regards him as the favourite son. Overcome with jealousy, the brothers strip Joseph of his ornamented robe gifted by his father and sell him off as a slave in Egypt. Joseph's luck begins to change when he is able to interpret the Pharaoh's dreams.
“Joseph goes through such trials and tribulations but becomes a winner in the end – he never gives up on his dreams,” says the Dubai-based Scottish native Roisin O’Donnell, who performs as part of the show’s ensemble.
She says opportunities to work with the London-based Popular Productions are always invaluable for UAE-based actors such as her. “It is a hugely rewarding opportunity and challenge to work to such professional standards and see the commitment and energy the West End team brings.”
The cast of 120 is made up of 22 different nationalities. The show’s director, John Payton, says such large-scale productions help develop the growing talent he sees in the UAE.
“Some of the actors who have worked with us before are now training professionally, so it just goes to show that your background does not matter – as long as you have the drive,” he says.
First staged in 1968, the show has been performed by countless amateur and professional companies around the world. The music is aimed at a wide audience, featuring genres such as rock ’n’ roll and calypso.
The Dubai show’s producers have incorporated projection and puppeteering in their staging.
“Because it is set in the Middle East, the set influences the biblical classical look but the music goes through different styles. It’s a brand-new production, so we also have a few surprises and references to Dubai,” says Payton, who first directed the show 10 years ago in London.
“Tim Rice is an expert lyricist. We want the audience to laugh. While it is funny, it also has moments of tension and sadness, but you come out feeling great.”
For Matthew Goodgame, landing the role of Pharaoh was a dream come true.
“The Pharaoh is very cool. He knows what he wants and he gets it. He is the power upon all powers. He has a regal feel like a pop star – such as Elvis,” says the British actor, who is in Dubai for the first time.
“It’s nice to use people from the home city – not often in Dubai you get to work with London-based actors and vice versa,” he adds.
Payton says: “We have a wonderful performance planned and the quality of singing gives it that extra gloss.”
[ @LifeNationalUAE ]