Is it time to go back to the theatre?

If the enthusiastic welcome from the masked up audience of the Sydney production of Pippin at the Lyric Theatre is anything to go by, it’s a resounding yes!

This is one of those ‘shows within a show’ shows with fourth walls tumbling and the audience occasionally peeking behind the red velvet curtain, which lends the whole experience a bit of an otherworldly vibe – certainly helped along by the incredible acrobatics and illusions, which could make you go back for seconds from a different part of the audience, just in case you missed anything the first time!

And you definitely did, it’s just impossible to take it all in at once!

The choreography, with delicious echoes of Fosse jazz hands, hatted hi-jinx and that bouncy turned-in knee somehow still manages to thrill to the toes and the cast delivers with sharp moves and appropriately exaggerated facials – the high quality dance from many in the cast was definitely a highlight.

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 Ainsley Melham as Pippin definitely has a strong singing game but it was his acting skills that impressed me most, that is until he started dancing! This man is a natural dancer – when I interviewed him for Star Observer as rehearsals for Pippin first started, he mentioned to me he’d love to do a classic tap musical – well someone needs to produce something quick smart cause this guy in a pair of tap shoes would be a sight to behold!

Gabrielle McClinton also stands out as the mysterious Leading Player who manipulates the action to suit her own shady agenda – Gabrielle belts out a tune with the best of them but tones it down when appropriate, bringing light and shade to this character that also requires a fine degree of technical dance skills, delivered with aplomb by Ms. McClinton.

And good old Kerri-Anne Kennerley – I won’t spoil the surprise but can guarantee you definitely will be surprised! Her show stealing scene had the whole audience buzzing and left us thinking KAK was a whole lot more nimble than we probably gave her credit for!

And it’s comforting to see the changes that have happened to accommodate our new COVID normal lives – reduced audience numbers, antiviral fogging before performances, sanitation stations everywhere, staggered arrival and seating times and masks required throughout the performance.

If you’re in Sydney, I URGE you to see it, it’s the first fully professional musical production in the SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE since COVID so you’ll be part of world history!!

Plus, it’s just a fun night out with toe tapping tunes and a message to ponder about your journey in life on the way home!

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