My account of the end of an era for a musical triumph.
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Carol M Creasey.
The Last Night of Joseph.
It’s always sad when something really good comes to an end, and the last night of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat, was no exception. This colourful and fast moving show has endured for over 20 years, entertaining children and adults equally, with its fantastic cast, great costumes, and a mixture of humour, drama, and comedy, which both enthralls and delights its enthusiastic audiences, and inspires many of them to return more than once to repeat this very satisfying experience.
There have been a number of different Josephs over the years, and currently this part is being played by Gareth gates, who first came to the public attention in Po Idol in 2001. He took over the role from Lee Mead in February of this year, at a time when the recession was making itself felt, quite a daunting task for a young man who was previously known mainly as being a Pop Singer. He had no acting experience, except briefly as Prince Charming in the pantomime of Cinderella at Wimbledon new Theatre during the Christmas period.
I was curious to see how well he would acquit himself, as Gareth has a stammer, and although it’s under control most of the time because of his sheer determination to beat it, it can rear its ugly head when he is put under stress. I could not imagine myself having the courage to stand up there, amongst a theatre full of people, risking huge embarrassment if I messed up, but apparently he was going to.
I went to the show during the first week, and I was very impressed to see just how versatile he is. His voice has never been in doubt, it is clear, pure and beautiful, and has the effect of moving you to tears at times. His sincerity positively radiates from him, and his rendition of Close Every door is so moving. His cheeky personality shines through strongly, he is funny, charismatic, and extremely handsome. His portrayal of Joseph has a Peter Pan quality about it, which captures the very heart of the audience. I came away that first day suitably impressed, he wasn’t perfect, but he was very good, and I was sure he would grow with the role, as it was clear he had great potential. I have to add, to his credit, that during the last 4 months, Gareth has played to a packed house almost every night, and the amount of fans clamouring outside the stage door has become so huge, that at times, it has been impossible for him to mingle with them freely as he normally would for pictures and signings because of the safety aspect. It seems once a heart throb always a heart throb, whether he sings pop songs or not, his fans still adore him, and everything he touches turns to gold.
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