Pippin Cast Are Game at WOS Q&ADate: 12 January 2012
Undaunted by mixed reviews over 100 theatregeoers made their way to the Menier Chocolate Factory last night (11 January 2012) to see the first major revival of Steven Schwartz's darkly humorous coming-of-age story Pippin which hasn't had a major London airing since 1973 which followed its Broadway opening the year before.
Telling the story of heir to the throne of Charlemagne Pippin (Harry Hepple) we follow our hero on his quest for beauty, glory, fame and magic. He soon realises however that to be extraordinary is not simple and he must grapple with the complexities of lust, sex, war, politics and religion before he can find true meaning in his life. Not simply a revival this bold re-imagining brings this story, originally set in the Middle Ages, right up-to-date. It's the 21st century and Pippin is a gamer who finds himself in the heart of the virtual world. Each new problem a different level to complete with fight sequences reminicesnt of 90s arcade game Tekken and healthy doses of online chat, Super Mario-esque blocks and even tweets.
Mitch Sebastian's choreograhpy is Fosse-esque and the cast, in their lycra suits, have his stylised routines down pat. A big ensemble and engaging leads give enthusiastic and entertaining performances and with the ever-changing projections, unusual costumes and gaming world sounds this production is certainly a feast for the senses.
Following the performance we were joined by co-producer Natalie Macaluso who shared with us how she became involved in the production as well as thoughts on future avenues for it (X-box Pippin anyone...?). Their was also a fantastic turn out from the cast including all the leads as well as members of the ensemble so we got to hear about the Lycra costumes and the accidents that happen including Hepple's burn. They also shared with us the rigours of the technical period, having Fosse's assistant in rehearsals and their research into computer game Second Life.
As always, please feel free to email your comments and thoughts about the play, as well as any of your favourite insights from last night to email@example.com. We would love to hear from you.