Fast approaching its fiftieth birthday, director Steven Dexter’s vastly creative interpretation of Pippin is set in a ‘60’s hippie commune. Loosely harking back to the time that Stephen Schwartz actually wrote the piece in 1967, this was the Summer of Love and the perfect setting for a travelling troupe of actors to tell their story.
Pippin is the story of a young prince, heir to the throne, who is searching for his own place in life. Returning from university, certain that he will find a fulfilling purpose, he is encouraged by the troupe to put life to the test - dabbling in bloody battle, licentious and lusty sexual entanglements, and savvy political manoeuvres, only to discover that true happiness is more complicated than he thought.
But enough of the plot, Pippin is, without a doubt, another must-see gem from the mega-talented Stephen Schwartz.
As the opening number cleverly sets the scene with Magic to Do, Dexter ensures us that there is still plenty of magic to do. Without a qualm, he revels in every nuance that the hippie set up offers, driving and eliciting performances from an irresistible ensemble - Ryan Anderson, Ian Carlyle, Alex James-Hatton, Daniel Krikler, Gabrielle Lewis-Dodson, Natalie McQueen, Genevieve Nicole, Jaydon Vijn - that are on top form throughout and a complete joy.
Standout performances from Ian Carlyle as the Leading Player and Ryan Anderson as Pippin, with a tour de force showstopper from Genevieve Nicole who owns the epitome of a sing-a-long song with No Time at All – pure happiness!
Undoubtedly complementing Dexter’s vision is the stunningly integral and ingenious choreography of Nick Winston. Laced with some clever acknowledgments to the original work of Bob Fosse, Winston thankfully has an ensemble that is capable of exploiting his wonderful vision and seamlessly incorporating it into the magical, theatrical whole.
Pippin has definitively found a place where it undoubtedly belongs. It is a production that breathes life back into the West End and should be welcomed with open arms. Just don’t miss this magical journey to an enchanting and sublime place!
Ryan Anderson as Pippin
Ian Carlyle as the Leading Player
Alex James-Hatton as Lewis
Daniel Krikler as Charles
Gabrielle Lewis-Dodson as Fastrada
Natalie McQueen as Catherine
Genevieve Nicole as Berthe
Jaydon Vijn as Theo.
Adam Blanshay Productions,
Edward Johnson, and Steven M. Levy
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz
Book by Roger O. Hirson
Directed by Steven Dexter
Choreography by Nick Winston
Charing Cross Theatre
London WC2N 6NL
Box office: 08444 930650
Wednesday 30 June - Saturday 14 August
Tuesday to Saturday at 7.30pm
Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday at 3.00pm
Previews: £25.00 - £39.50
Premium seats £49.50 (includes a programme and a glass of bubbly)