An exciting new production of the Broadway musical about a prince learning the true meaning of glory, love and war
After launching this summer with the sold-out musical Fanny and Stella, The Garden Theatre at The Eagle presents a new production of the popular musical Pippin. This is a socially distanced, outdoor production produced by Peter Bull for LAMBCO Productions.
Pippin originated on Broadway in 1972, famously directed and choreographed by Bob Fosse, with music/lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and a book by Roger O Hirson. The Garden Theatre production uses the 1998 new ending by Mitch Sebastian.
The much-loved musical tells the tale of a young prince learning the true meaning of glory, love and war. Pippin is a coming-of-age story with a message that true happiness isn’t found through success and ambition, but rather in the simple and ordinary. However, the real draw of this show has always been its catchy 70s-inspired music.
This production is significantly smaller than originally conceived, with a stripped-down cast of six, all whom are seasoned West End performers. Ryan Anderson as Pippin is exceptional and his rendition of the famous “Corner of the Sky” number does not disappoint. His voice is effortless, his dancing captivating and his acting is raw and honest.
Joanne Clifton is also a standout, playing Fastrada/Bertha with flawless comic timing and leaving the audience awestruck by her dancing. The cast also includes Tsemaye Bob-Egbe, Tanisha-Mae Brown, Harry Francis and Dan Krikler.
Designer David Shields and director Steven Dexter have done a wonderful job of turning the Garden Theatre into a sort of hippie commune. The audience are seated in traverse, under a makeshift tent. The actors are dressed as bohemian flower children, which altogether creates an atmosphere of watching a travelling circus troupe put on a show.
The only element that doesn’t seem to fit is the cast using American accents. Pippin’s magical world, created by this motley crew, feels like it shouldn’t call for a particular accent, and therefore the cast speaking with their natural voices would have felt much more authentic and in tune with the environment.
Nick Winston’s choreography still manages to wow us, despite the space restrictions. We can see Fosse’s original iconic choreography but adapted for this unique setting, and with Winston’s individual stamp.
In all, this smaller-scale production of a Broadway and West End favourite is still filled to the brim with light, colour and energy.
Pippin is running at The Garden Theatre until 11 October
Photo Credit: Bonnie Britain