Pippin - 50th Anniversary Concert

We’ve got magic to do….!  An evening of fun, magic and some great tunes. The 50th Anniversary concert is a treat from start to finish!

Pippin was first performed on Broadway in 1972 with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and book by Roger O. Hirson. It was directed by Bob Fosse, and this semi staged concert version certainly retained many very welcome nods to Fosse.

Pippin centres around a mysterious troupe of players, led by the Leading Player, who tell the story of Pippin, a young Prince, and his search for meaning and fulfilment. The action involves breaking the ‘fourth wall’ on a number of occasions throughout.

I won’t give anything away, but the action starts with a lovely surprise for the audience and a glorious wall of sound from the onstage orchestra, with “Magic To Do”, accompanied by Alex Newell’s rich vocals. Alex was a truly charismatic Leading Player, and gave plenty of attitude, especially so with Lucie Jones’ Catherine in the second half.

The score was magnificently sung throughout by a great cast. It was clear they’d been rehearsed really well for this two night concert.

There were plenty of highlights, with Zizi Strallen’s Fastrada being one of the best. Her “Spread a Little Sunshine” was something to behold with plenty of splits and high kicks, and her Fosse inspired choreography was amazing. She was a vision in gold, vamping it up a treat!     

Lucie Jones was fantastic as Catherine. She was barely on in the first half but she certainly made up for it in the second half. She had great chemistry with Jac Yarrow’s Pippin and there were some genuinely funny comic moments, and some glorious vocals, particularly in “I Guess I’ll Miss The Man”.

Jac Yarrow was perfectly cast as the hero of the piece, or is that anti-hero? He sang the part perfectly but also has a chance to show his nifty footwork.

Special mentions for Patricia Hodge whose rendition of “No Time At All” brought the house down, and Cedric Neal, who was a wonderfully soulful Charlemagne. Patricia was the original West End Catherine, so to have her back on stage for Berthe was very moving. Both clearly had a great time!

The ensemble numbers were also beautifully choreographed and staged, and on the whole sounded great, complimented by the onstage choir.

The look of the show also added to the feel of the 1970’s with lots of sequins, and Fosse inspired choreography.

This was a genuine celebration of Pippin’s 50th Anniversary. The orchestra sounded sublime and filled the auditorium with some beautiful music.

It was a great concert and was in fact filmed, so hopefully we will get another chance to see it. It looked and sounded beautiful. The orchestra and choir from Arts Ed added so much to the sound quality and it was a pleasure to be in the audience.

This show was reviewed on the 29th April 2024 and runs for just one more show on the 30th April 2024.

Review written by Ruth Hawkins


Photo credit: Pamela Raith

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