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Review: Pippin (Garden Theatre)

Pippin follows a young prince on an eclectic search for a fulfilling existence, with the moral dilemma of whether to choose a life of simplicity or gamble it all for a shot at glory and fame. We are promised a night of mystery, magic and many laughs and it delivers exactly that. Over ninety-minutes, six players jump from role to role at the turn of a pin and from the first perfectly pitched ensemble note, you know you are in for a treat.

The highlight of this production is undoubtedly Nick Winstons chaotic yet precise choreography, with each player throwing themselves around the traverse stage with total conviction and energy. Every inch of the charming Garden Theatre space is used by the performers and the blend of Winston's slick choreography, Steven Dexters inventive staging and the demanding score all form a theatrical magic not found in most big budget musicals.

This bare-bones production of Pippin is bundled with energy, fourth-wall breaks and even a little sing-a-long. Joanna Cliftons take on the world’s most energetic grandma leaves the audience in stitches and Ryan Anderson gives a measured and slick performance, displaying a real sense of innocence in the titular role. Tseme Bob-Egbe, Harry Francis and Dan Krikler all shine but a special mention must go to Tanisha-Mae Brown, who delivers a pitch-perfect performance on her professional debut.

Where parts of the nation are being placed into local-lockdown “Think about the moment” in the Finale number strikes a different chord. At a time where our entire industry balances on a knife-edge, I find myself doing just that, taking a step back and appreciating just simply being in a room sharing a collective experience. In these dark-times we all need something to lift our spirits and you won’t find many better places to do that at the minute than in the Garden Theatre with Pippin.

Pippin is running at the Garden Theatre until October the 11th. For tickets, click here -

Photo by Bonnie Britain Photography.

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