THEATRE: New take on old tales for school holidays

CENTRE OF ATTENTION: Joseph’s coat arouses sibling jealousy. Picture: Simone de PeakEVERYTHING old is new again. That’s an enjoyable feature of theatre, as shown by two forthcoming school holiday productions, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and A Knight to Remember.
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Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is being staged by Young People’s Theatre at its Hamilton venue in the first week of the holidays, opening on Monday, June 30, with Saturday performances in subsequent weeks until August 16.

And A Knight to Remember will be presented by Footlice Theatre Company at the Newcastle Community Art Centre’s Black Box Theatre in Hamilton in the second week, opening on Tuesday, July 8.

The two groups last staged the respective shows two decades ago, but the presentations this time will be very different.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat is a lively two-hour musical that began life as a 20-minute pop cantata written in 1968 by composer Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyricist Tim Rice for a London school’s annual concert.

At the suggestion of the school’s music master, they based it on the biblical story of Joseph, a farmer’s son in ancient Egypt who was sold into slavery by his brothers who were jealous of his brightly coloured coat.

Joseph eventually became the chief adviser of Egypt’s pharaoh and met his brothers again when they came to the royal court seeking food during a prolonged famine.

The short musical version of the story was so popular that Lloyd Webber and Rice gradually developed it into a full-length show, with bright songs including Any Dream Will Do, Close Every Door and Those Canaan Days.

The zip of its lyrics and music makes it very much a story for today, so directors Katy Booth and Emily Taylor have given it a contemporary setting.

The farmer, Jacob, is an outback Australian farmer who gives Joseph his brightly coloured Driza-Bone coat. Potiphar, Pharaoh’s chief adviser who has Joseph imprisoned because he suspects him of misbehaviour, is a millionaire operator of an airline and its chief pilot. And Pharaoh is the host of a Deal or No Deal-style television game show who teaches Joseph how to be a TV star.

YPT will stage the musical with two alternating casts.

Nicholas Hamilton, 15, and Hamish Pickering, 14, play Joseph, as well as one of his brothers, Judah, when they are respectively in the title role.

They see the musical as a fun show, even when the story moves into dark areas.

‘‘Joseph is a positive person who does his best in everything he puts his mind to,’’ Hamilton said.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat plays daily at 11am from Monday, June 30, to Friday, July 4, plus a 7pm supper show on Wednesday, July 2. It can then be seen every Saturday from July 5 to August 16, at 2pm and 7pm. Tickets: $15.90 to $16.50; supper show $20. Bookings: 49614895, at the theatre (corner Lindsay and Lawson streets, Hamilton) Friday, 4pm to 6pm, and Saturday, 9am to 1pm, or online, ypt.org.au.

UPLIFTING: A Knight to Remember.

A Knight to Remember is a light-hearted story about a scheming king’s attempts to get the fortune of his niece, Princess Cynthia, who is the rightful heir to the throne.

The king is hindered by his less-than-bright squire and aided by a quartet of inept and inane knights attracted to the royal castle by the offer of the princess’s hand in marriage for a knight able to slay a dragon that is terrorising the kingdom of Woddle Woddle Wip Bung.

The difference between this and previous stagings of the tale is the addition by director Fiona Mundie of an extra knight to the three included by writers Richard Howard and Christopher Fletcher.

The new knight is a character from an early 1990s revue sketch performed by Footlice.

The cast includes Oliver Pink as the King, Jan Hunt as the Squire, Sonja Davis as Princess Cynthia, and Callan Purcell as the four knights.

A Knight to Remember, which Fiona Mundie describes as ‘‘bright and cartoony’’, can be seen at the Black Box Theatre in Parry Street, Hamilton (behind the Sacred Heart Cathedral), daily at 10am and noon from Tuesday, July 8, to Saturday, July 12. The show runs for 45 minutes. Tickets: $10. Bookings: 0405154174; [email protected]南京夜网.

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