New Victoria Theatre, Woking
Wednesday 4th February 2004
Carl and I arrived at the theatre an hour before the show was due to start and met Richard in the cafe for a cuppa and a good old chat! It was great to see him again after so long. Richard then had to go off and carry on with his training of Gavin James Burke to be understudy for Joseph.
The auditorium was busy but not full, the atmosphere was good though. We had seats in row C, which were fab as they were raised so Richard could see us through out the show.
Amanda Claire was fantastic as the narrator, she seemed to make every effort to include you into the story. As the curtain rose and the cast were all there looking at Joseph you could tell that everyone seemed to get on well. As Richard turned round I caught my breath, it was just like old times! It was so lovely to see that familiar smile, the only thing is, it's just not the same without the dungarees!
Richard's voice was as good as it's always been in fact I feel it was even better! Everyone was great, they all seemed to work well together and generally enjoy themselves.
Steve Varnom was great as Jacob, he used great facial expressions. Robert Jaye did a great miming job of an opera singer in 'One More Angel'. All the cast were great dancers and looked great together.
When Joseph was sold to be a slave, he was chained up to two other slaves who were not bought. The Baker and Butler were already in Potiphar's employment.
Robert Jaye was great as the Baker, really got into the part and Geoff Hennessy was fab as the Butler, looking and acting the part well. Carolyn Sinnett was really good as Mrs Potiphar, she had a good report with Richard and they danced very well together. Richard wore a silver vest top whilst in Potiphar's service.
Steve Varnom was menacing as Potiphar and sure did shout at Joseph when he found him with his wife!!
The set was the old touring one with a few added extras, like nodding dogs in the Pharaoh scene. The costumes were similar to those in London but slightly brighter and better to my way of thinking. Pharaoh's entrance was from behind the Sphinx that spoke to Joseph, before rising up as it always used to. Lee Mead was great as Pharaoh, he really worked the crowd, and he got some whistles and screams too!
The dance routines and the music were the same as the London production, but I don't remember the guitar solo in London (must of missed it knowing me!). But Andy Waterson did a fab solo in 'Close Every Door' its so fitting to the atmosphere. Richard sang the song with all his usual power if not more.
In 'Go Go Go Joseph' the cast remained in the Gospel costumes and also sang the whole song in Gospel. A.J Lewis and Celia Mei Rubin (I think!) sang it very very well as a harmony. Which was very different to anything I've heard before and it worked very very well.
Kevin Littlejohn was very cute as Benjamin and seemed to have a good report with Joseph. He also seemed to enjoy the attention of the girls in 'Benjamin's Calypso' that A.J Lewis sang with great style! Caribbean here we come!
It was great to see a decent motorbike from a local shop again, it just isn't the same without one! The coats were the same as they've always been which I feel is much better as they aren't too over the top. There was of course no lift at the end but that didn't matter one bit as you felt that Joseph was 'above' you all at the end anyway! The audience got up and danced at the end, though Carl and I were up first and a lot of people stayed seated!! Richard waved, sang and winked at us when he could! The cast all seemed to look our way so whether Richard had said something I'm not sure!!
I felt as if I'd seen a whole different show than before, although it was almost the same, certain bits like 'Go Go Go Joseph' really made it different.
As the show ended we made our way to the stage door where we talked to Geoff Hennessy and Kevin Little John briefly before meeting Amanda Claire who was very polite and a nice person to talk to, Carl had a photo taken with her. We then met Richard and walked with him and my lovely Derek who was very happy to see his Auntie Tanith!
We walked back to our respective cars and said goodbye, not before getting Richard to sign my programme (as if I haven't already got his signature lol).
We drove of waving as we went, having had a fantastic evening!!
New London Theatre, London
Friday 6th February 2004
Carl, Amy (his niece) and I arrived in wet London and spent the late morning/early afternoon wandering around looking at the sights, as it was Amy's first visit to London. We stopped by the Palace but sadly no one was home so we had to find somewhere else for a cuppa!
We then made our way to the half price ticket booth where we managed to get FRONT ROW seats for Joseph that evening. We were all very happy about that!
From there we went to the Prince Edward theatre to see if we could say hi to my good friend Tim Driesen, we didn't think we would as the show (Mamma Mia) started in like 15mins but the stage door lady called Tim out. His face was a picture when he saw us!! We stood talking to him for a good ten minutes and had photos taken with him. Amy chatted to him too and thought he was lovely. After we left Tim we made our way to Leicester Square again where we grabbed a bite to eat. We then made our way to the New London Theatre, where we spotted some of the cast in the cafe opposite so we popped in to say hi! So we chatted with Brian Graves, Trevor Jary and Vivienne Carlyle. Also my two friends Louise and Andrea were there too. John Marques and Hayley Reed also came in so we said hi to them as well. We then drifted over to the stage door to see who else was about. Andrew Derbyshire was there, so we had a chat with him and he said we could see him after for photos. He's a lovely guy, very down to earth and was happy to chat with us.
After what seemed a wait forever we managed to get to our seats, by which time Amy was really excited, it was lovely as it made me remember some of my early visits to see the show.
The stalls were full but there was no one upstairs so I think they must of moved everyone down which was a good idea as it was a better atmosphere that way.
As the music started and the lights went down Amy was beside herself with excitement, Vivienne came in a long blue jacket with two children in their pyjamas as she invited us to join her on a journey. She then took the children to their seats after the curtain had risen, before introducing us all to Joseph. Andrew looked great and had a real boyish charm. Andrews voice was fantastic, he's really made the part his. What with his boyish charm and his good looks he was a winner from the start.
Phillip Burrows was actually very good as Jacob/Potiphar, he was a good father figure as Jacob and a great 'important' person as Potiphar and he sure made you quiver in fear when he shouted at Joseph!
Most of the cast spotted us at different parts of the show and winked at us when they could. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves, they all were on top form.
When the brothers plan to sell Joseph, John Marques almost landed on my lap! He sure does fly across the stage! Also in Potiphar we had three of the guys in front of us and we could easily of taken their sticks from them as they were in our laps almost!!!
As the Brothers planned to grab Joseph we got blow up sheep on the stage (I think they are fab!!). 'One More Angel' is danced well and it looks like a really good hoe down! The audience seemed to enjoy it! Russel did a great impression of an opera-singing woman! We of course had the blow up cacti too!
When Joseph was sold he was with 3 other slaves, but unlike in the tour, he wasn't chained to them, John Melvin did his fire eating as always, but with an added twist! Potiphar makes him 'eat' the fire at the end, which is very cleverly done. Showing everyone that Potiphar is the boss! Andrew didn't wear the silver vest at all, which was great as we all got a look at his lovely body a bit more! He really suits the role, changing with the different ages of Joseph well. Kay Murphy was excellent as Mrs Potiphar and she danced well with Andrew. Russel Hicken was great as always as the Baker and Ben Harlow was fab as the Butler as he always is, the two of them work well together and really made me laugh with their 'dance' in Mrs Potiphar's dance routine.
Andrew sang 'Close Every Door' with a lot of emotion and he did indeed look like he was crying. 'Go go go Joseph' starts off as a Gospel song then the cast shed their cloaks and are in 60's style jump suits (girls) and t-shirts and trousers (guys) with Go and Jo written on them. So its one big dance fest at the end of part one!
Vivienne sang 'Pharaoh's story' with amazing power, which really made the hairs on your neck stand on end. 'Song of the King' is of course I think the BEST part of the show apart from the mega mix at the end. We had nodding dogs and a HUGE sphinx at the top of the stairs which opened as two doors to reveal the back of Pharaoh dressed in a cloak and Tauten Carmon (cant spell that) head mask. Then he turns round and takes of the cloak and mask to reveal..................Elvis himself!!
Trevor Jary is as great as always, I swear this part was made for him! The audience don't know what's hit them! The women swoon and clap and well basically PARTY!!! They also couldn't wait for the encore we just had to say 'YES' when Joseph asked to hear it 'one more time'.
Benjamin Calypso was done very well with John Moesketsi-Moabi singing, it was great, you really felt like you were in the Caribbean somewhere. John (Benjamin) looked suitably entranced by all the girls and the attention he was getting.
The re-uniting of Joseph with his family at the end was enough to bring tears to all our eyes, it was done very emotionally! The chariot was a gold three-wheeled bike, which I have to admit I'm not too keen on but hey!
There were of course the three coats at the end, but before that Joseph sang 'Any Dream Will Do' to Jacob with real emotion in his voice, building in power as he started to as if he could return to the beginning. The cast join in and the party begins!!! The first coat is opened and is quite big and colourful! Joseph goes off and we get the mega mix. The brothers came into the audience to sing 'Go go go Joseph' again and we had John Melvin next to us so he stopped to say hi and shook our hands (Amy was opened mouthed with amazement!!). Then Andrew sang 'Close Every Door' again and the cast joined in. They then opened up the ribboned coat.
Finally we are all asked what we have been waiting for, to join in so up we get (Amy took a bit of persuading!) and we danced and sang, the cast that hadn't spotted us before did then!!!!
As Andrew drew the song and the show to a close we stood leaning on the stage! Then up Joseph rose on a lift with his HUGE coat flowing out behind him! What an ending and what a show!!!!!!!!!!!!
It was great to see David Rose as MD again too!
After the show we of course shot round to the stage door where we met most of the cast and had a good old chat and photo session. Amy was very happy to get autographs as well (oh yeah so did I lol).
Andrew chatted to us for a long time which was great as we got to find out how he enjoyed the show and what his future plans were. The cast were all leaving the following weekend so we had timed it just right to go see them all. It was so nice to see everyone again and I am sure as hell going to miss every single one of them, and I know I shouldn't say it but the show just wont be the same again!
Once we'd waited forever for Trevor to come out we stood talking to him for a while then he walked with us and my friend Louise to the tube station, which was great, and I must just say I'm grateful to him for that as he helped keep an eye on Amy who's only 12 and there were ALOT of people around at that time of night. So Trevor if you're reading this THANK YOU!
It was nice to meet some of the cast that I didn't get to meet last June, and I hope that everyone will keep in touch.
So all in all we had a fab day in London.