“Pippin” by The Cast
Duchess Theatre, Long Eaton.
Duchess Theatre, Long Eaton.
SPOILER ALERT!!!!! I intend to use the word "AMAZING" several times.
I didn’t realise that this musical was as old as it was. Written in 1972 it uses the premise of a mysterious performance troupe, led by a Leading Player, to tell the story of Pippin, a young prince on his search for meaning and significance. It tells of the people he meets and his adventures as well as a finale that you will not expect..
it’s one musical that I’ve only been aware of in the last few years and after hearing “Corner Of the Sky” being sung as part of a showcase performance, I decided that I needed to take a listen to the whole soundtrack, and I am so pleased that I did. The soundtrack has some wonderful songs in it such as the aforementioned, "Morning Glow", "The Right Track", "War Is A Science" and “Magic To Do”. A stylised 70's style sound, almost like "Godspell" but with a style of it's own.
The action simmers as you enter the theatre with the strange white clothed and masked characters milling around the stage and checking your tickets, as if you were in an asylum. The atmosphere was quite unnerving, almost "American Horror" style.
Then just as you're lulled into the dark opening, there's an explosion of colour and action. At times there are hints of Monty Python but behind the comedy, the dark side is never too far away.Oh and there's some naughty seaside postcard style humour as well.
The whole ensemble are amazing, The leads are amazing.
Siân Scattergood plays the Leading Player in the play within this play. Sian is amazing. She has the most amazing voice, in fact there's not one of these actors who does not have anything less than an amazing voice. Such a strong cast!
Pippin is played by George M Mercer. i was trying to think of when I last heard George sing on stage and I couldn't think of when it was. I could listen to George sing all night as he makes it all sound so easy. He hits every single note and is one of the best male singers in local theatre at the moment in my humble opinion. I can't wait to hear him as Jekyll in "Jekyll & Hyde - The Musical" in May 2018 because that soundtrack is amazing also.
Rob Chilton plays Pippin's macho half brother, Lewis, who loves the ladies, almost as much as he loves himself. Oh and there's a relationship there that is also very taboo, just to add another layer of darkness to the story line.
Pippin's father, who just happens to be the King as well, is played by Martin Holtom and adds the Pythonesque element to the musical.
Mother is played by Beth Yearsley and ooh what a naughty lady she is. Is nothing too low for her to stoop to? An amazingly fun character part and Beth also has another wonderful voice.
There's character who befriends Pippin who is a widow called Catherine, and played by Claire Rybicki. Although a late character in the story line of the musical but a very vital character as you'll find out. Again a lovely voice with great emotion, especially in the song "I Guess I'll Miss The Man".
Catherine has a son, called Theo, again late in the story line but a vital addition to pippin's life. Theo is played by Tom Baddily. There was something about Tom's acting and confidence that makes me think we could be seeing more of this young man in the future.
The one character that I absolutely adored here and made me laugh so much was the Grandmother, Berthe. Aged,practically blind and deaf with a potty mouth to match any sailor. Her opening lines were like being smacked in the face with a wet fish - the complete shock is followed by the realisation of the complete absurd which makes you laugh out loud. Carrie-Anne Cornerplayed this joyous part and her big song and dance number "No Time At All" practically brought the house down.
I intend to mention all of the amazing ensemble because they also provided many of the laughs. Rachelle Bragg, Michelle Bruce, Chris Bryan and Rob Charles were a comedy pairing made in heaven as they often paraded around sans trousers, all with very serious faces - how did they manage to keep straight faces I'll never know. Lucy Castle, Emily Corner, Jodie Cresdee, Katie MacDonald and Mina Machin.
Directed by Christopher Collington, he has gone from directing an amazing version of "Tommy" to this incredible production. I would go as far as to say that this is absolutely perfect. It's flawless, and I know that Chris will be so very proud of the amazing cast.
The sound was the best that I have heard at the Duchess. I initially thought that the music was backing track, it was so good, but no, the nine piece band created an incredible sound which complimented the vocalists on stage perfectly. Mixed by Harry "the mix wizard" Greatorex.
The costumes were amazing - thanks to Mina Machin.
The set was designed by Rob Corner and Christopher Collington, and I loved the video projection section.
As I said, everything about this musical was just amazing.
I only have one question. Why has this production not sold out? - because it should be sold out every night it is that good. Do not be afraid of getting a ticket for a musical that you may not know much about because you could miss out on an amazing piece of theatre such as this - and that would be an absolute travesty.
To sum up....
Amazing show... Amazing cast.....Amazing soundtrack ..... Amazing finale.....Amazing opening..... Amazing everything in between the previous two amazings.
THIS MUSICAL AND PRODUCTION IS AMAZING - NOW GO BUY SOME TICKETS or I'll hunt you down and slap your legs!!!
“Pippin” is at the Duchess Theatre, Long Eaton until Saturday 24 March 2018