Finally, the razzle dazzle is back!
Yes, you’ll have to head out of the peninsula and across the bridge to get it, but Broadway hit Pippin, is definitely worth the trip. It’s the first full-scale musical to stage in the southern hemisphere since COVID shut entertainment down and has reopened the Sydney Lyric at The Star.
From the moment the curtain rose, Pippin’s wondrous acrobatics and mystifying magic, combined with dazzling razzmatazz and cheeky vaudeville, is just what the doctor ordered to get over the pandemic blues.
The story of Pippin (Ainsley Melham), an unfulfilled prince looking for meaning, is told by a travelling troupe of actors and acrobats, Players, led by the Leading Player, think ring master, (Gabrielle McClinton).
What’s the plot?
At the cross roads of his life, Pippin is torn between succeeding his father King Charles or finding his own path in life. Hilarious attempts at battle, sex, murder and love ensue as Pippin desperately tries to find himself and his ‘corner in the sky’.
The multiple Tony Award Winning show produced in Australia by the Gordon Frost Organisation, is a 1972 musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and book by Roger O Hirson. Staged under a circus big top it’s a play within a play starring a cast of 28.
Among our musical theatre favourites are seasoned circus performers, some ex Cirque Du Soleil, lighting up the stage with juggling, dives through hoops, trapeze acts or seamless slides across giant balls. We’re mystified by amazing levitation, charmed by a chat with a headless victim of war and bewildered when a body disappears, just disappears, right before your eyes.
Reprising her Broadway role, McClinton, commands the stage with her acerbic wit, razor sharp timing and athletic prowess, while Melham, renowned for his role in the Australian and Broadway production Aladdin, is deliciously vulnerable.
But it’s Kerri-Ann Kennerley, Australia’s veteran television host and former showgirl who has you on the edge of your seat. Yes, the 67-year-old can still belt out a tune, but hanging upside down from a trapeze? She nails the role of Berthe, Pippin’s mother, adding a maternal warmth and poignant self-reflection in her rendition of No Time At All.
Pippin is colour, it’s exhilarating, it’s chaotic and all over the place at times. But it’s captivating. Don’t miss it. It’s magic.
Pippin The Musical will play the Sydney Lyric until the end of January. Parking at The Star is a flat rate of $25 from 6pm.