Saw Pippin last night. I found out about it whilst trying to find out what Matt Rawle was up to after Zorro (which shares my Best Show Ever award with Rocky Horror Show). Pippin was certainly different! Gay Sloper was excellent as Gran and it was SO good to see the gorgeous Matt With The Velvety Voice on stage again. The choreography could have been a little more inspiring but that didn’t surprise me, having seen Wicked (well down the list of my nominations for Best Show Ever and a possible contender for Worst Show Ever). The set is innovative and the cast not bad at all, so it was well worth a trip from Hertfordshire on a cold and miserable January evening.
Just seen The Importance of Being Ernest at the Riverside, brilliant small cast,lovely music/songs, Gyles Brandreth in drag and a perfect antidote to the manufactured West End shows.
Penny, she with the long arms, and no connection with the show
Filing through the chip-papered tunnel into the auditorium and there’s a feeling of something special about to begin. This trendy rendition of ‘Pippin’ is compered throughout by a scary Brand-a-like so you don’t have to think, just let it cybersplash all over you. ‘Being no fan of most theatrical attempts at video screens and projection, in the main it’s got right; with shades of grey and silver. This is not off-town but Broadway, cleverly creating a sense of Big Show augmented by two hundred luminaires in a chocolate box theatre. Perhaps it will head Trans-Atlantic or Trans-Thames. Post intermission Miss Bawden, star of ‘Brollies & Bicycles’, is centre stage that’s less about contemporary dance, more trad. drama. The world of TV and movies beckon Miss Bawden so keep an eye on her career, hopefully not always pretending to get it off uncomfortably on a mezzanine. The nurdish online-chat videos and Pip’ at his PC are a touch naf, cyber-fuzz them up. Otherwise a must go show slickered to near perfection on second visit, proving the best creative endeavours come about in times of austerity and uncertainty. Kiss
A highly recommended show purveyed by an exceptionally professional team; whizzing by in front of an appreciative full house night after night, showing Broadway how to do it best here on the humble South Bank. BTW are the Whingers allowed South over the river? ..arrest those cowboys on sight, I’ll stump up the euro* reward. Strange how shows speed up when you know what’s coming, a bit like the return car journey. A point worth remembering for theatregoers that never see a show twice: I’d highly recommend it since so much content is packed into modern entertainment it can’t be appreciated in one hit, and this machine-code (aka digital, my detestation) rendition of ‘Pippin’ is certainly that. A return to ‘Ghost’ is in order to confirm if ‘Pippin’, on a relatively shoestring budget, is actually better. A touch of panto’ is courtesy of Louise Gold’s [granny Berthe] popular sing-a-long scene. Word has it that there’s backing from the USA for what is viewed by many as Stephen Schwartz’s best ever score, lush song after song – grooovy. *Luv ya digi whinge, really I do. Really Really.
Third visit last night (24th) and well worth another look at this slick ‘Big Broadway’ show. A near to full house had the opportunity to catch Gay Soper (ex Stephen Schwartz’s Godspell 1972) passing through as this week’s stand-in for Granny Berthe. Do take a visit whilst the show is this side of the pond since odds-on it won’t trans’ to West End but may arrive in NYC where ‘Pippin’ is a household name. [Menier run ends 25th Feb 2012]
Saw same performance (Soper debut) — excellence all around. My complaint is not with the production but with the book: Too much uplift, too much consolation for the punters in the audience who want to be told that to abandon their ambitions of transcendence was The Right Thing To Do. Donna Elvira does not rescue Don Giovanni from the Stone Guest. Anne Trulove does not save Tom Rakewell from dying by his own hand in Bedlam. These versions of FAUST are the stronger for that choice. PIPPIN’s Faust-lite instead lets the hero sag into mediocrity, because… well, because that’s what the members of the audience have done (as the next to last number underscores!), and really, the book says to them, that’s OK. Forget about having your initials next to HIGHEST SCORE on that videogame, Pippin! Your life won’t be anything but long.
I was so disappointed by this production – I saw Mitch Sebastien’s previous version at the Bridewell some years ago and thought it had all the heart and soul and engagement that this T4 meets Clockwork Orange version totally lacked. Matt Rawle is *really* shrill and why the hell can’t he sing a single note without modulating the *&^% out of it? Ditto Harry Hepple and swooping up to every note? Louise Gold a total charm vacuum – Berthe is meant to be S*xy and Lovable and Young at heart!
Frances Ruffelle and Carly Bawden the only performers technically or emotionally convincing as belonging on the stage of this usually brilliant theatre!
I strongly considered leaving in the interval ( having never left any show before). The story- such as it is- is buried in the migraine inducing concept. The only good scene was with Berthe (Louise Gold). Had I known that her character doesn”t return in the second half I would definitely have left. Much too loud for such a small space. Probably would appeal to the 14-25 year old video game- playing audience.