There is always an air of excitement when What We Did Next Theatre Company is in town. Their previous shows at the Unity theatre have always been a sell out and are very popular with young and old alike. Their shows always involve big casts that can sometimes seem a little messy on stage, particularly the Unity, however choreography is always tight and everyone happily knows their place.
Their latest venture is Pippin, originally premiered on Broadway in 1972 it has seen many revivals and still continues to fill theatres today. The musical is told by a performance troupe that is led by a Leading Player and follows the king's son Pippin as he tries to find his purpose in life. Is it to be found within the battlefield, the temptations of flesh, the intrigues of political power, or perhaps in the ordinary moments of everyday life?
It is clear to see the hard work that has gone into this musical as it is predominately vocals with not much dialogue, the cast work very well together to keep the much needed energy flowing throughout this two act show. Very much an ensemble piece there are stand out performances from several people, with stunning vocals from Steph Scrutton as Fastrada and Heather Burns as Bertha. Chris Walsh as the Leading Player and Pete Fendall as Pippin take on the lion's share of the vocals and both do so brilliantly.
However, what really comes across from everyone are their individual characters. It can be easy to get lost in an ensemble but as you look at each person you can clearly see personalities that shine through and the humour that these individuals bring with their characters helps to keep the balance between musical and comedy.
Also on stage, a live band competently led by musical director Josie Conti helps secure Pippin as another roaring success in helping to encourage and nurture young people into the shaky world of musical theatre. Pippin ticks all the right boxes as far as musical theatre goes and it comes with never ending energy and a real buzz from every cast member.