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