The last night of the latest UK tour of Joseph saw a bit of a party atmosphere in the audience at Swansea Grand Theatre. This Bill Kenwright production seems to have been going practically non-stop since the 1980s, with the occasional break when the show was revived in the West End. This latest tour is a little fresher than some I’ve seen and is about to make its arena debut for a Christmas season in Newcastle.

A large part of the success of this latest run of the show is probably down to X Factor winner and chart topper Joe McElderry in the leading role. McElderry has a big following – indeed, the lady in front of me gets so excited on his arrival on stage that she shouts out, ‘Go Joe!’ and I’m not sure if she’s referring to the singer or the character. Whatever one she’s referring to, it’s a role he was certainly born to play, both in name and in personality. McElderry is vocally perfect for the role and has a winsome smile and an appropriate dose of the required charm too. Joseph is not a role that requires a huge amount of acting skill and any deficiencies in that department are soon forgotten as it’s all about the catchy Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s songs anyway.

This retelling of the Biblical story of Joseph and his eleven brothers and the coat of many colours is a real family musical treat. So much so, in fact, that near the end of a three-show Saturday in the scene where Joseph is about to be reunited with father Jacob, one small child commented to a hushed auditorium, ‘Mum, he’s wearing a dress!’.

The songs in this show are timeless and one can never tire of hearing such easy-listening classics as ‘Any dream will do’, ‘Close every door’ and ‘Go, go, go Joseph’, complete with a children’s choir provided by Mark Jermin’s local Stage School. Trina Hill’s Narrator keeps the audience involved in the story throughout while the second half’s dreams and Pharaoh sequence are particularly tongue in cheek. Ben James-Ellis rocks up a storm as Pharaoh too. The show’s choreographer Henry Metcalfe continues his long-running role as Jacob and is no doubt a father figure to the whole company.

The Joseph Megamix at the end of the show gets the whole audience on its feet and the front row – big McElderry fans – adorn themselves with Christmas lights and set off party poppers at the final curtain. At barely two hours long, Joseph has always been a rather slight show, but it’s a fun and entertaining musical which tells a well-known story in a charming and humorous way. Long may Kenwright’s touring production continue.