Charing Cross Theatre (venue)
07 July 2021 (released)
“Everything has it’s season, everything has it’s time” are the opening lyrics of ‘Corner of the Sky’, one of the most recognised songs from this less well known Stephen Schwartz musical. This is the perfect time for a revival, as everyone of us is searching for a new sense of the’ world’. Coming out of lockdown, the sentiment and the power of some of its poetic lyrics really speak volumes. Especially as the audience are sat without the restrictive social distancing. Masked up, but wholehearted joyful to be what an audience can and should be.
There are of course obvious parallels with ‘Godspell’, having a company of actor/hippies on a perpetual quest to bring a story of one man’s life, dreams and aspirations to the ‘people’.
Its structure isn’t without faults, although essential to the plot, Pippin’s search for a more normal life in Act 2, lacks the zip and pizzazz of the rest of the show. That is a minor flaw as Steven Dexter , as director, has really found his ‘Corner of the Sky’ and has breathed a truth and clarity into a show whose structure is very much non-linear.
He has assembled a great cast, who each and every one has their moment or their song. Ryan Anderson as Pippin has a crystal clear voice and brings a real truth to a very multifaceted character. And the almost show-stopping rendition of ‘No Time At All’ by Genevieve Nicole as Berthe, Pippin’s grandmother is a master class in comic timing and breaking the fourth wall. Overseeing the proceedings is Ian Carlyle as the Leading Player, his presence, voice and dancing are worth the ticket price alone.
The Creatives for this show are all excellent too. The late 60’s highly decorated hippy enclave designed by David Shields is superbly lit by Aaron J. Dootson, who bring off amazing things in the circus like staging. But, it is the choreography of Nick Winston that totally captures the ‘time’ and exuberance. The dancing sweeps you up and carries you through this rollercoaster of a show.
Quoting yet another lyric, ‘I’ve got to be where my spirit can run free’ feels like an anthem for the future. This show is good for the soul.