Amateur company Sedos promise at the start of the show they have Magic To Do and boy do they deliver. With honeyed-vocals and a sublime design, their production of Pippin pleases on every level.
With honeyed vocals and a sublime design, their production of Pippin pleases on every level.
Set in the days of the rule of Charlemagne; the story is about his son, Pippin. Pippin, here excellently played by Joe Thompson-Oubari, is a precocious young man who, despite his success in education, feels there is something more out there for a young man as "extraordinary" as him. The musical then takes us on his journey as he tries to find this elusive purpose. The show has a circus-jaunt to its score, and we are led through the tale by a ring-master-come-narrator, played here by Corin Miller. Miller excels with a bold, funny and mesmerising performance, her every facial expression appearing to be carefully curated. The show is heavily stylised, with themes of storybooks, medieval knights and princesses and, as mentioned, a circus. It makes it a treat, both musically and dramatically.
My next plaudits must go to the incredible, and I mean that word quite literally, production team. On what you can tell must be a limited budget, their creativity and vision is constantly surprising and complements the work magnificently. Visually, the costume and set is paired down but highly effective. The choreography is a masterpiece, and executed so well by the ensemble. The ensemble were all magnificent, with hardly a bum step or note between them – despite it being opening night – and with an energy and commitment I wish you could see in some of the West End's longest running and most praised shows. Their vocals, along with the rest of the principals, were simply gorgeous and a great testament to Stephen Schwartz’s tricky score. Special mention must also go to Vicky Terry, playing Fastrada, for a truly joyfully evil and energetic performance and when I realised she wouldn’t have a scene again I found myself quite disappointed. Finally to Matthew Cise, playing Theo, whose comic timing and beaming stage presence, I think, stole the hearts of every member of the audience. My only slight moans are for Kris Webb, playing the man Charlemagne himself. A little off-beat from the rest of the cast, his camped-up Charlemagne was all ideas, no action. Perhaps hysterical in the rehearsal room, the decisions didn’t translate well on stage and next to such a strong line up of principals his performance, and vocals, fell awfully flat.
I have to recommend this strongly to anyone with a love of musical theatre. Normally amateur productions are a tough sell, but I can hardly imagine even the most devoted West End fan finding this show substantially missing anything. Yes, perhaps you won’t get the glitz and glam of a Shaftesbury Avenue smash, but you will get all the energy and ingenuity that only the best kind of amateur performance can bring.