THE Biblical tale of a dreamer called Joseph and his multi-coloured coat started out as a 15-minute school cantata, before becoming a smash hit musical.

And despite its runaway success, much-loved show Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat retains the simple charm of a school production. There are cuddly toy sheep, comedy camel masks, a simple set comprising two flights of steps, and a children’s chorus in Joseph T-shirts.

Effective lighting shifts scenes from Jacob’s sun-kissed Canaan cornfields to an Egyptian king’s residence.

Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s witty re-working of the story of Joseph, favoured by his father and envied by his 11 brothers, who leave him to the mercy of slave traders, is a perennial favourite at the Alhambra, and a packed audience welcomed it back with open arms this week.

Read our interview with Mark McMullan:

The show raced along to a varied score covering country, jazz, Parisian torch song, calypso, rock ‘n’ roll and the inevitable Joseph mega-mix that had a delighted audience on its feet. Highlights included the brothers dressed as cowboys, crooning One More Angel in Heaven to trick their father into thinking that his beloved Joseph is dead, and Pharoah’s Story, with a terrific hip-swivelling Henry Lawes as the Vegas Elvis Egyptian king, flanked by American football hunks and swooning cheerleaders.

Mark McMullan, who captured hearts with his powerful voice on last year’s Britain’s Got Talent, was excellent as Joseph, blending the cheeky charm of a dreamer with the vulnerability of a boy who finds himself a long way from home. His moving performances of Close Every Door and Any Dream Will Do were rousing showstoppers. Anyone partial to shedding a tear or two at the musicals is advised to take tissues - Joseph’s return to the fold and his father, Jacob, movingly played by Henry Metcalfe, is quite a moment, and had a woman in the seat next to me sobbing her heart out.

Holding the show together is the Narrator, and Alexandra Doar shone brightly in this role, with a fabulous voice. She’s a big talent to watch.

Aforementioned show veteran Henry Metcalfe was impressive as both Jacob and powerful Potiphar, and the 11 brothers, each with their own star turn, were a hoot. Great performances too from Amber Kennedy, Charlotte-Kate Warren and Gemma Pipe as the Handmaidens. And special mention to the lovely Joseph choir - Team Baker, from Young Showstoppers in Heckmondwike.

A fabulous fun family show. Go, Go, Go Joseph!

Runs at the Alhambra until Saturday.