Pippin

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.

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Performances

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The Blurb

With its infectious and unforgettable score from four-time Grammy and three-time Oscar winner Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Godspell, Children of Eden), Pippin has delighted audiences across the world. The most recent Broadway revival swept the New York awards circuit, including winning the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical.

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