BACK in 1968 when Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber collaborated to produce Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat they might have hoped their musical would stand the test of time – but they didn’t know it would.

Yet more than 50 years later their smash hit is delighting a whole new generation of theatregoers as it tours the UK. What a massive achievement.

Sitting wide-eyed in the circle at the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton, we felt very privileged indeed to experience this show.

We were treated to a visual feast, an array of brightly-coloured costumes and scenery, and of course fabulous lyrics from Tim Rice accompanied by marvellous music from Andrew Lloyd Webber. We all knew I Close My Eyes and I had been humming this throughout the day in preparation.

This is as much a biblical celebration as it is a musical. It tells an important story in a really engaging way and it’s interesting how it lends itself so strongly to musical theatre. Who would have thought it?

My wife Caroline and I watched alongside our three children – Harriett, 11, Heidi, nine, and Henry, six – and we were all equally mesmerised.

“I really like the mix of children and grown-ups on the stage,” said Harriett. “Some of the youngsters play important roles like Potiphar.” Heidi added: “When Potiphar was being carried by so many I assumed he was an adult but when he stepped down he was a small child, which was funny.”

It is a tall order to tell a story through music and singing, but we were in safe hands. There was a sprinkling of humour as well, with Alexandra Burke doing various accents. She was full of energy, which was perhaps surprising when she was clearly pregnant.

There was a jovial French song as well as the can-can, at the end of which the lead singer said that he didn’t mean can-can but Canaan...

When Pharoah (Jason Donovan) descended with a sash on his back saying ‘The King’, we were treated to an Elvis-like performance complete with Las Vegas lighting and signage. He joked about his old age.

We spied the lively young conductor and the musicians underneath the stage.

Joseph (Jac Yarrow) had an extremely strong singing voice. We all enjoyed how he made Close Every Door his own and Caroline found this very emotional.

The scenery was enchanting and we particularly liked the Egypt set with its pyramids and gold. All very dramatic and slick, as you would expect.

Certainly a holiday highlight for us all, it’s next in the region from August 2-6 at the New Victoria Theatre in Woking.

Tim Saunders