This is a real oddity. A '70s Broadway hit in Bob Fosse's original production, 'Pippin' is a twee, shapeless musical with a lame book by Roger O Hirson and likeable, poppy tunes by Stephen Schwartz ('Wicked'). Like 'The Fantasticks', it has as its central motif a troupe of strolling players; they relate the story of Pippin, son of Charlemagne, and his Candide-like quest for a meaningful life.
Mitch Sebastian's new staging – with dazzling digital designs by Timothy Bird – resets the action in a virtual world, a cross between a 'Tron'-ish video game and a suicide chatroom. Here, Harry Hepple's Pippin journeys through scenarios of martial glory, orgiastic sex, politics and claustrophobic domesticity.
The singing is strong and the choreography, recreated by Chet Walker from Fosse's characteristically sensual, witty moves, is stunningly executed. But the story is so incoherent and the visuals such an unrelenting assault of light and colour that the whole feels like a bad trip.
It's a bold, radical revival, with a certain dizzying appeal. But the show's hectic energy drains away through the holes it's riddled with.
Average User Rating
3.4 / 5
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- 1 star:4
We loved it. Knew nothing about it other than "Corner of the Sky" and it really made me feel positive about the theatre again after seeing dross like Ghost and Priscilla. Read the reviews, ignored them and went anyway, and very glad I did.
It may have "holes", but that doesn't stop the show from being great fun. Yes, it is an oddity, especially if you go to see others much larger venue, but I really like this musical. The music and dancing really are superb. There is an element of tongue in cheek, but this only adds to the quirky nature. The lighting is very clever and uses the small space cleverly. All-in-all a real cracker of a show. It finishes soon and I will be returning for the fourth time next week.
This is a fantastic production. It's entertaining throughout, and the ending manages to be surprising, moving and thought provoking. Perhaps it has improved since the opening - I cannot imagine how anyone would consider this anything other than a triumph!
Great production - amazing energy, crazy concept and electric staging all made for a wonderful piece of theatre.........you just have to go with it!! Brilliant
Brilliant! You must go and see this! Original and imaginative, this musical/play has a clever concept and leaves you thinking. The music, cast and special effects were awesome, and I cried with laughter at Grandma's debut! It really is worth going to see!
I wish I'd left in the interval too as the second half was even worse than the first. The first disaster I've seen at the Menier... sigh
Sometimes it is necessary to take the foot off the accelerator. For me it had the feeling of a production that was trying too hard. I loved the subtle stage setting before the start but from then on it was overload, visually and musically. It is a small space and didn't need such heavy sound - the drumming was insistent and the singing was too loud. The special effects although over stressed were undoubtedly clever and there was great enthusiasm from the cast but I didn't return after the break.
Dire. Only thing worth watching was Lewis's dancing. Almost as bad as Gone with the Wind. Surprised at you, Menier Chocolate Factory!
we have seen sweet charity and the invisible man at the Menier and loved every part of the experience. unfortunately this is not the hat trick. if you like fosse and computer games perhaps but we left in the interval the projector were too loud ,the singing overamplified and the gaming concept staging embarrassing .
Filing through the newly plaster-boarded tunnel, awash with wet emulsion*, 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. 'Being no fan of most theatrical attempts at video screens and projection, they get it right, mostly; in shades of grey, silver and muted colours. This is not off-town but Broadway, cleverly creating a sense of Big Show in a chocolate box theatre, hopefully heading for over the river. Miss Bawden, recently staring in 'Brollies & Bicycles' is centre stage post intermission that's less contemporary dance, more trad. stage. The World is set to see more of Miss Bawden, hopefully not always pretending to get her kit off, again uncomfortably on a mezzanine: no vertigo problems? The nurds online video-chat sequences are somewhat naf, cut or work on that; it can still be 'Pippin' in cyberspace. Otherwise a must go show, soon to be slickered to perfection, proving that all the best creative endeavours come about in times of austerity and uncertainty. Tonight was first preview, new trousers* please. Kiss - Stevie