Saturday, 13 August 2022

Review: A Shiplake Joseph

A Shiplake Joseph, St Peter and St Paul Church, Shiplake, Friday, February 8

A Shiplake Joseph, St Peter and St Paul Church, Shiplake, Friday, February 8

FROM the moment boys and girls from Shiplake Primary School’s years five and six poured on to the stage with their smiles and infectious enthusiasm it was evident that A Shiplake Joseph, a community youth production between Shiplake College, the primary school and Shiplake parish church’s Sunday club would be a high-energy entertainment bonanza.

Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat was orginally written for a school performance, and this slick edit, directed by Catherine Saker and Jenny Unwin, kept the children of St Mary’s and Shiplake Primary schools in the audience well entertained.

Louise Rapple’s eight-piece band picked out the honky-tonk sounds of the Seventies but Joseph’s multi-coloured onesie, proudly worn by Ruaridh Sheppard, epitomised the nod to contemporary tastes. His 11 brothers were wonderfully disgruntled as they hissed, booed and gestured to the audience as Jacob showered affection on his favourite son. Tom Jones, as Reuben, soon won the audience’s affection.

There were elements of Christmas pantomime in this production, including a camel that made asides to the audience. A limo made of wood and a gold “pimped” BMX bike were typical of the production’s irreverent sense of fun. Once in Egypt, there was comic slapstick as Potiphar’s wife chased Joseph around the stage.

This Joseph was exuberant, with music ranging from the operatic, through Country and Western to disco. Billy Sayers’ lip-curling Elvis presentation of the Pharaoh, complete with leather jacket, was conclusive proof that the King lives on. The clear diction and melodic tones of the primary school boys and girls, in glittering cowboy hats, combined magnificently with Shiplake College’s junior choir. Together they provided a sound track that swept the Biblical story to a foot-stomping, triumphant, mega-mix finale.

Michael Edwards

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