Review Round Up: Pippin, Southwark Playhouse

Jonathan O’Boyle’s production of Stephen Schwartz’s musical transfers to London from Manchester. Here’s a guide to what critics have had to say about the musical’s Southwark Playhouse run…


WhatsOnStage: ***** “a gorgeous piece of theatre: endlessly inventive, the magic tricks are up close and real, William Whelton’s Fosse-style choreography is often breathtaking, Maeve Black’s garishly beautiful design is lit with great panache by Aaron J Dootson, and the band under Zach Flis sound terrific”

Jonathan Baz Reviews: ***** “This Pippin is one of those productions rarely seen on the fringe. It captures the sparkle of Broadway, transporting it to south London in a whirl of unmissable musical theatre.”

London ***** ” The production pays explicit (and honourable) homage to the show’s original director/choreographer Bob Fosse, with William Whelton’s choreography recreating many of his signature angular moves and employing his classic props like hats, canes and ostrich feathered fans.” ** 1/2 “Pippin was originally conceived as a student musical, and here it looks like one.”

Time Out: ** “this revival is musical theatre for hardcore musical theatre fans: a showcase for schmaltz-y, jazz hands-ridden dance numbers with all the sequinned trimmings. With this much magic to do, the story’s all but an afterthought, but Schwartz’s songs are served up in style.”

Rewrite This Story: **** “For a mystical, magical, mystical, whimsical show that will surprise, make sure you get along to the Southwark Playhouse”

Exeunt Magazine: “If all the build-up is to matter, the show has to be more than a morality tale. Of course, the flipside of long build is that there’s plenty to enjoy before the ending. But such whole-hearted performances as the company puts out deserve a less tentative approach.”

The Reviews Hub: ***** “Pippin at the Southwark Playhouse is flawless, a perfect production of a classic musical that has rarely seen the light of day in London and which will surely see audiences wanting to revisit.”

British ***** “Zach Flis and his band keep the action flowing beautifully, delivering Andy Collyer’s orchestrations as a base upon which this talented ensemble deliver Schwartz’s glorious score. Katy Lipson, Joseph Houston, William Whelton and Guy James are to be congratulated on yet another brilliant production.”

London Theatre1: ***** “a marvellous musical, a captivating experience full of energy and vitality.”

British Theatre Guide: “This fractured plot is best taken as pure fun with a succession of good tunes and lively dancing. Dance makes a big contribution: William Whelan’s sprightly choreography, which has echoes of Bob Fosse’s original production and (with permission) reproduces one number directly, is lively and jokey and this cast perform it with an edge that is witty.”

The Spy in the Stalls: **** “Just as Schwartz’s lyrics proclaim, the committed cast do perform magic. It is quite a conjuring trick to bring to life Roger O. Hirson’s flimsy text. The music has soul, but the story lacks heart.”

Pippin continues to play at the Southwark Playhouse until the 24th March. For more information and to book tickets visit:

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