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Union’s exceptional Christmas show is Pippin good fun!



Review by Emma Whitelaw

NEVER failing to delight the public, The Union Theatre has done it again with their latest Christmas show, Pippin the musical.

This time they’ve dished up a truly delightful yuletide feast of cabaret, laughter, fun and sassy numbers that will have you singing along with glee.

Set among a very festive set, complete with trees adorned with fairy lights, Pippin is the tale of the son of Charlemagne and his quest for a life less ordinary.

As son of a King, Pippin, played by Daniel Lane, has all he could ever ask for, yet somehow feels as though his life lacks substance and yearns to find his 'Corner of the Sky'.

Lane is fantastic as the vulnerably naïve heir. His search for fulfilment has him going to battle with Visigoths, visiting his grandmother Berthe, played by Susan Travers, and over-frolicking with girls in the countryside!

The journey continues and leads to surprisingly traitorous consequences, as Pippin soon comes to realise the tyrant that his father is as ruler of the kingdom.

He feels it is his destiny to overthrow Charlemagne and take over the crown.

Pippin’s revolutionary leadership has all sorts of ramifications. He abolishes taxes, gives handouts to the poor, takes the land from the nobles and disposes of his army.

It is only until the kingdom is threatened by outside forces that Pippin realises the vast mistakes that he has made.

Ironically, his failure to rule justly has him soon taking to his father’s tyrannical ways and it is only a matter of time before he is dethroned.

Taking to the streets, Pippin becomes a pitiful mess. Charlotte Marisa Moore plays Catherine, a wealthy widow, with a fetish for feet, who stumbles across a barefooted Pippin and instantly falls for his charm.

She takes him under her roof and cares for him day after day.

It is her intention to make him notice her, and she tries every angle but has little success - that is until she introduces Pippin to her son, Theo.

Bryony Hannah is truly delightful as the apple of Catherine’s eye. Pippin warms to the child and soon becomes an active part of their lives.

But being the thrill-seeker that he is, Pippin soon tires of his idealistic life. Working the fields and mending roofs isn’t exactly the “extraordinary things” he dreamt of doing. But just where will his quest end?

The large and exceptionally talented cast are sure to entertain many an audience to come, especially Andrew Whitlaw, as Leading Player, who often wowed the audience with a voice that could put some West End stars to shame.

With an undying enthusiasm, the entire cast exploded onstage with vibrant, show-stealing numbers like Glory, Spread a Little Sunshine and No Time at All.

There is much to be said about a show that exists purely to entertain. Pippin is all that a Christmas show should be; light-hearted, wickedly funny, sometimes silly and, most of all, full of fun!

Pippin by Roger O Hirson and Stephen Schwartz. Directed by Ben De Wynter and Sasha Regan. Starring Daniel Lane, Andrew Whitlaw, Susan Travers, Charlotte Marisa Moore, Sioned Jones, Bryony Hannah, Adam Booth, Jasper Hone, Tayla Holdaway, Harry Attwell, Nikki Gerrard, Russell Hawkins, Kristin Hellberg, Thomas Hopkins, Natalie Izgol and Peter Stickney. December 8, 2004 to January 8, 2005 at the Union Theatre, 204 Union Street, Southwark SE1 0LX. Box office 020 7621 9876.

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