“Pippin” is one of my best known, and best loved, shows. It lends itself so well to grandiose ridiculous spectacle, like in the most recent Broadway production, while still having a beating heart, an eternally provocative book, and one of the best all-around scores in musical theatre. So I was intrigued to see what a little almost-black-box of a theatre like Southwark Playhouse could do with the material. It’s been a long time since I saw a production of Pips that wasn’t full-out Cirque du Soleil treats – in fact, the last time was in high school, when I was indeed in a non-circus non-world-class-acrobat version. I couldn’t help but wonder (just a little call out to Miranda running for governor treats!), how strong are the bones of the show? Will it still produce the thrills and astonishment I remember even without all the flying through the air with the greatest of ease? And the answer is, those bones must have read The China Study and learned about how milk really isn’t the answer to osteoporosis and instead they’re eating vegetables and doing resistance training because hell yes, they are strong.
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