Pippin by Sedos
Pippin by SEDOS
Pippin is a show that seems to be in vogue at the moment with the recent revival at the Southwark Playhouse and Sedos have been able to ride this wave of popularity.
It tells of Charlemagne’s son, Pippin, who is determined to find his ‘corner of the sky,’ his reason for living. He tries war, sex, revolution, politics and finally living the ordinary life to reach fulfilment. Pippin is faced with the decision as to what he will settle for in the long run and how far he will go to achieve the extraordinary life he has been seeking.
The title role is played by Joe Thompson-Oubari and the narrator and ‘Leading Player’ is played by Corin Miller. Together they are a tour du force excelling in their vocals, their acting and their dance, with their dance duo danced with character and a lot of skill.
Miller commands the stage and brings a fresh interpretation to the role of the Leading Player. Traditionally written for a man but more recently when played by a woman the sexual side of the leading player is ramped up. Miller instead focused on a more deranged side of the Leading Player with tics and facial expressions bringing this to the fore, coming across as far more dangerous as a result.
Despite the focus of the show being on Pippin’s journey through life the portrayal of the character development can often be underplayed. Not so with Thompson-Oubari who started out as innocent and naïve and his character grew until the audience felt comfortable in believing that Pippin was able to finally stand up to the Leading Player.
Charlie Welch also deserves praise for her part as Catherine, with a beautiful clear tone to her voice and an good mix of woman in love and desperation for help. She played her with a Yorkshire accent and a colourful 50’s style dress, in contrast to the rest of the casts modern monochrome costume.
Sedos’ interpretation of this show was intelligent and enjoyable. They used the fact that the ensemble are ‘players’ to have them as onlookers or even interpret certain moments of Pippins life through dance. The show can be fairly heavy going on occasions and Sedos could have made more of the comedic moments. In particular the scene between Pippin and his Grandmother, Berthe (Annie Houseago). Many of the jokes fell flat in this scene and I would have liked to have seen more of the audience participation in this bit. I was also unsure of their interpretation of Charlemagne (Kris Webb) as overtly camp as it was unclear what this was trying to deliver.
Sedos have also amassed a really strong group of dancers in this show. The choreography by Paul Brookland-Williams was a diversion away from the typical Fosse style you often see in Pippin. However this fresh, more jazz driven approach was well executed. I particularly enjoyed many of the dance solos during ‘With You’ enabling many of the dance ensemble to really show what they could do. I also enjoyed some of his modern interpretations of the dance breaks with ‘hoodies’ and girls glued to their phones to help keep the show relevant.
Sedos’ Pippin is a fresh version of this musical with a strong group of dancers at the fore and an engaging duo as Pippin and the Leading Player. I would recommend that all lovers of Pippin get themselves down to the Bridewell to see this interpretation and those that are new to the show, this is the perfect accessible way to discover it.
Pippin runs at the Bridewell Theatre until 19th May. To find out more about SEDOS and their upcoming shows please visit their website.