Theatre Review: Brothers Beyond, Epstein Theatre, Liverpool

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Image Source: Epstein Theatre

Written By: Carole Bayley

Format: Musical
Genre: Variety
Date: September 30 2018
Location: Epstein Theatre, Liverpool

This show was to mark the 50th anniversary of Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. A biblical story about two brothers encased in an array of music and colourful costumes that has visited theatres worldwide and been enjoyed by thousands, if not millions, of theatregoers everywhere.

Graham Tudor and Mike Holoway were amongst the cast. Performers were joined on the stage by students from Tread Summer School in Liverpool. Tread provide acting schools, workshops and summer schools around the country to aspire people and promote the industry – Graham Tudor is creative director of Tread, and he is clearly dedicated to his art.

Mike Holoway has appeared on TV and previously starred in Joseph and The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. He is the longest-serving ‘Joseph’, playing the character over a span of 28 years. As well as being a great performer front-of-stage, he is also a trained musician and demonstrated this playing on the drums tonight.

With these two talented men billed in the cast, it was predicted to be a great show. Although they weren’t the only talent on the stage, the line-up of gifted entertainers was impressive.

The story itself was about – well here’s the thing: there was no story. In fact, I found the evening to be a mish-mash of musical numbers that really didn’t pull together as a whole, though individually the performances were good. Many of the songs used in the arrangement did not originate from Joseph and The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, which was a surprise to me and not what I expected. The show encompassed songs from other musicals such as Beauty and The Beast and Les Miserables. The student who sang I Dreamed A Dream solo surely has a great future ahead of her. A couple of elaborate costumes would have added greatly to the visuals.

Having been a bit negative about the show, I should now put the positive spin on it, and it’s a big positive. The evening appeared to focus around raising funds for Partners, the charity supported by the production. There was a clip transmitted which portrayed the trauma of lives of children affected by conflict and oppression. The charity provides emergency short-term provision of food, shelter materials and basic survival necessities for children, their families and their communities during times of acute crisis. There is nothing wrong with the spin of the evening being to raise money for charity, and I for one was willing and happy to donate. After all, the performances were worth a watch for whatever reason. My favourite part of the night was Trevor Jary singing Jesus Christ Superstar.

The evening was a night for former casts of Joseph to gather together, showcase their talents and share their appreciation for each other, and their band of Joseph Warrior followers, of which there appears to be many. Lots of things were spoken about the Joseph ‘family’ over the years and the love that has glued them together. Stephen Gately received a great tribute for his performances playing Joseph, and particularly for one night when he very generously took the entire cast and crew out for drinks on him for a whole evening.

Overall, then, I felt that Beyond Brothers could have benefitted from a clearer thread to link everything together, but the sum of its parts remained entertaining and, with regards to fundraising, very beneficial for people in need.

Overall Rating: 7/10 – Respectable