Henry and ‘Joseph’ - together for 30 years

For more than 30 years, Henry Metcalfe has been at the heart of that great stage phenomenon, Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

Wednesday, 22nd June 2011, 11:10 am

“It’s not quite been continuous, but I have never really quite got away from it,” laughs Henry.

Currently he’s combining the roles of Jacob and Potiphar and also choreographing the show. And it’s that choreography which keeps the show on its toes, as Henry points out.

“It’s what is needed,” Henry explains. “You have to change it, otherwise it would just petrify.”

Back in the early 80s when Henry first became involved, just at the end of the glamrock era, the show had a glamrock feel to it: “It had a very different sense to it, very much Abba. I looked at the pictures from 1981-82 and I couldn’t believe it. The pharaoh character had an enormous bouffant wig, and everything was totally over the top.”

It’s difficult to describe the current style, says Henry - not least because you don’t realise what fashions are until after they have passed.

“I can easily remember 40s and 50s children with long shorts and short back and sides, but you don’t realise that was the 50s look until long afterwards. At the time, it was just how it was.”

One thing, though, is that perhaps today’s aggression does filter through. Back in the 1980s, Josephs were all muscles and pearly teeth; now the emphasis is much more on Joseph conveying just what Joseph ought to be feeling at any given moment in the show.

“Perhaps it is slightly more aggressive. Someone was saying to me the other day that we live in a very angry society, and I think it is true. You notice it particularly on the roads. There isn’t a journey when you don’t think... well, I’d better not say it but ‘something you!’ I remember driving in the 1960s and you would salute the AA patrolman. It’s very different now!”

Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is at the Theatre Royal Brighton until Sunday, June 26.