top of page

Pippin | Theatre Royal Drury Lane

Pippin takes to the stage once again in London’s glittering West End, and this time to celebrate its 50th Anniversary with a marvellous spectacle, which we only sadly get for two nights.

Pippin is loosely inspired by the history books, however, quickly abandons this notion as the audience members are told to set aside any preconceived notions they may have on the character. Instead, this musical uses the premise of a mysterious group of performers putting on a show that tells the story of Pippin, King Charlemagne’s son, on his quest to find true fulfilment. Led by the Leading Player, played by the legendary Alex Newell, the performers often break the fourth wall making this musical truly magical and unique.

It is safe to say that with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and book by Roger O. Hirson, the show is guaranteed to have a successful reception by its audiences, and last night’s 50th Anniversary revival concert truly did not disappoint. With a star-studded cast like you have never seen them before, the show was brought to life in ways that can only be dreamt of. Despite its small cast and the minimal props, it was everything a musical should be. It let the audience’s imaginations work their magic, letting them conjure up their own intricacies whilst resting solely on the beauty of the score, directed by Chris Ma, and at times grand Fosse style choreography by Joanna Goodwin.

Alex Newell’s character holds the show together, both for the audience and the characters themselves, as they blow the audience away with a powerhouse vocal performance that never ceases to amaze. The idea of breaking the fourth wall makes the show even more exciting, as the audience will never know what to expect. From hilarious one-liners as simple as ‘oh honey, not yet’ to a brilliant sing-along led by Patricia Hodge as Berthe, this show masterfully combines the playfulness of a pantomime and the grace of a classic musical.

The title role of Pippin was played by the talented Jac Yarrow, who managed to bring the perfect mix of youthful naivety and strength to the part, whilst using his incredible range to tackle Schwartz’s work. From soaring high notes in ‘Extraordinary’ to a sentimental romantic duet with Catherine (played by Lucie Jones) in ‘Love Song,’ Yarrow has proven that he can do it all. It was also absolutely incredible to witness Jones in a truly comedic role, not to mention her incomparable vocals, which she once again delivered effortlessly.

Cedric Neal, most recently nominated for his role in Guys and Dolls, gets to play on what are arguably his strongest skills: killer vocals with superb comedic timing. With just a dash of sass, Neal brings the character of the tyrannical Charlemagne to life, delivering a most memorable performance. Alongside him is the incredible Zizi Strallen who, with just a spoonful of conniving wickedness and a barrel-full of spectacular dance moves, brought the house down in her performance of ‘Spread a Little Sunshine.’

Accompanied by the London Musical Theatre Orchestra and the ArtsEd Choir, this cast was truly one for the history books. As Hodge’s character told us: ‘Oh it’s time to start living,’ and boy, if living feels like last night, then I’d like to live forever.

Unfortunately, in just no time at all, this glorious celebration will be over, so don’t waste your chance. Join them, come and waste an hour or two, I can assure you, you will not regret it. For more information and tickets, you can follow the link here.


Gifted tickets in return for an honest review | photography by Pamela Raith


bottom of page