Pippin at the Southwark Playhouse: REVIEW

This 70s musical somehow still manages to feel modern in its temporary home at Southwark Playhouse. The plot is about as meta as it gets, telling the story of a performance troupe which in turn tells the story of a young prince named Pippin who strives for a fulfilling life. As the show goes on, the performance breaks down and the players start to write their own story. It’s a confusing musical and you have to accept it’s all a little weird in order to really enjoy it but, once you do, it’s a great show.

The Southwark Playhouse is a small theatre, so it lacks the large stage and wings of a west end theatre, but they make the most of the space and it always leads to an interesting show. Pippin features a simplistic but effective set which makes good use of projections and lighting. It provides the perfect setting to put the focus on Fosse’s iconic choreography and the cast’s strong vocals.

This production follows in the footsteps of the recent Broadway revival by casting a woman in the role of the Leading Player, and Genevieve Nicole does a wonderful job bringing the sass and elegance that the part deserves. Rhidian Marc also deserves a special mention for his performance as Charles, turning on humour and seriousness when they’re needed and balancing them with skill. At the performance I saw, the entire cast handled an unfortunate show stop with professionalism and didn’t let it throw them off from a clean sweep of great performances.

Pippin just suffer a little from the lack of space, losing some of the theatrics of the larger productions. There’s no one hanging in a hoop from the ceilings and no one’s thrown across the stage, and there are a couple of moments where I found myself missing the acrobatics although I completely understand why they’re not feasible at the Playhouse. You can check out the Broadway revival for what I mean when I say’ theatrics’:

Although it might seem like a strange show choice for such a small space, and you might get a little lost when it comes to plot, Pippin at the Southwark Playhouse is truly a magical night out regardless. The costumes are simple but gorgeous, the use of candles is something I’m always partial too, and the score is iconic. This is one of those shows that you just need to tick off your bucket list, and you have until March 24th to do it!

Find out more and get tickets here.