Pippin, The Garden Theatre at The Eagle - ★★★★ - Until October 11, 2020


Happy hippie troubadours invade this intimate space only to charm their way into our hearts and minds. It might be interesting to discuss the existential crisis which inhabits the heart of Stephen Schwartz's entertainment, but it is far better to relax and let this exceedingly talented troupe entertain us with their superbly directed and choreographed performances. The whole panoply of life in the time of Charlemagne is laid out before us on a pocket handkerchief of a stage. It is all festively strung with fairy lights and surrounded by forests of potted palms. As Pippin himself, Ryan Anderson displays extraordinary talent including some jaw-dropping athleticism. The ambiguity of Pippin being trapped but happy with his lot is nicely developed. Harry Francis is a delight as the fit-but-dim stepbrother, Lewis, and he dances up a storm. Dan Krikler's fine voice serves well as King Charlemagne. However, the clear audience favourite is Joanne Clifton as Pippin's stepmother and, especially, as his gloriously demented grandmother, Bertha. The fourth wall is frequently broken to delightful effect, and we are even encouraged to sing the chorus of “No Time At All.” Pippin has never proved as durable in this country as on Broadway where Bob Fosse's original production is legendary. However, with this pared down version directed with terrific panache by Steven Dexter, plus Nick Winston's super-slick choreography, we are certainly encouraged to believe that “it's time to start livin' with Pippin.”

Reviewed by D.S.J.
Photo by Bonnie Britain Photography.

 Our Score:  ☆☆☆☆ 

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WHEN, WHERE, GETTING THERE:
Until October 11, 2020
Various show times available. See website below.
The Garden Theatre, The Eagle
Nearest tube: Vauxhall

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