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KDVP’s Joseph a spectacular display of talent

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Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Colour Dreamcoat is a cult-classic musical theatre piece that has had audiences singing along to the book of Genesis since the late 1960s. This week, King David High School Victory Park revisited the Andrew Lloyd Webber staple for its 2023 major production. It performed six shows from 26 to 29 March, selling out all performances, and receiving an abundance of praise.

Joseph was last performed by KDVP High School in 1992, and was revived this year by director and head of arts and culture and dramatic arts, Renos Spanoudes. A highlight of this show was that every student who auditioned was included in the performance. School spirit radiated from every corner of the stage, and each student was given their chance to shine. The cast was comprised of an impressive 75 students, whose ensemble numbers were choreographed by Dillone Prince, with vocal coaching by Debra Fleminger Mizrachi.

The performance of the titular character, Joseph, by Ayal Krawitz (double-cast with Christian Lees for alternate performances), felt sincere and heartfelt, reflecting the earnest nature of the character in relation to constant antagonism from his 11 brothers. His performance of songs such as Any Dream Will Do and Close Every Door To Me showcased his singing talent, while his scene with Potiphar’s wife, played by the charismatic Tali Bloch (alternate Liana Wes), or his interactions with his brothers, showed a more humorous side to the character.

The narrator was led by Mira Lipman, whose strong soprano fit perfectly with the character. However, instead of sticking to a single narrator, the character was assigned to a small ensemble of female vocalists, including solos from Emma Sweiden and Gabi Bild, that made it come to life.

One of the elements that makes this musical feel timeless is its amalgamation of songs in a variety of pastiches of genres that never truly allow the audience to attach the story to a singular era. Michael Flaum’s performance in the 1920s Charleston-esque song Potiphar created a decadent jazz number, while Sam Bonner’s (alternate Greg Landau) performance as the Elvis-coded, rock ’n roll king, Pharaoh, served as an upbeat, invigorating blast from the past. The over-the-top, caricaturesque costumes and performances were perfectly executed.

The tone then shifts with the down-trodden family Joseph has left behind, with the French-style ballad Those Canaan Days. The ensemble of the brothers was led by Jethro Crawford as Jacob, whose powerful vocals (and impressive breath control) maintained the sorrowful tone of the song, while interspersing it with moments of comedy and exaggerated French accents.

The production boasted a few unique elements that added a fresh twist to the well-known libretto. In one of them, the story was made more interactive as the baker, played by Shane Yutar, broke the fourth wall before, during, and after the play. After the butler (Giorgio Klein, alternate Jaedone Zaken), received the more favourable dream, it seems the baker attempted to escape and found his new calling telling dad-jokes to the audience, sporting placards that prompted it to laugh, cheer, cry, or groan. This interesting post-modern idea could probably have even been explored further.

The set was modernised through the use of banners decorated with graffiti, as well as slight variations in traditional costumes. This, too, could probably have been experimented with in other areas of the show to make a more prominent statement.

The student Salt and Pepper teams did an incredible job with the lighting and the variety of moving elements. The set also featured a plethora of levels and scaffolding, which added dimension to the performance. The large cast made use of the entire space in various creative ways, such as moving through the aisles and the stairs coming off the stage. The performance also featured a live band which further immersed the audience in the entirely sung-through musical.

KDVP’s performance of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Colour Dreamcoat was a lovely exhibit of the talent its students have to offer, as well as an engaging watch for all.

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