“Pippin” at the Orpheum Theatre: Flips, Tricks, and Magic … But no Storyline??

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 Currently showing at the Orpheum Theater in Minneapolis, Minnesota is Pippin the musical. Pippin isthe story of a man named Pippin that is trying to find his place in the world or as he says, his “corner of the sky”.With its recent revival, it is a show of grand acrobatics, stunning tricks and talents of all kinds. The performers really amazed me with all the tricks they could do individually and as a group.

                As you may have already realized my first paragraph was very plain and just kind of roughly scratched the surface of what Pippin really is and the performance I saw that night but, I hope my uses of fonts and sizing distracted you from the plainness. This was my goal, and it probably worked. You were so entertained or confused or intrigued by my strange and unique style of writing that you totally forgot this was a review. I’m glad! The director and creative team involved in producing Pippin did that same exact thing. The storyline and plot of Pippin is lacking immensely in diversity and existence but you aren’t paying attention to that as an audience member, you are watching the cool flips a performer is doing behind the little scene that’s happening as part of the actual story.

                Although the show itself had a weak storyline there were some amazing performers in this show. One, definitely worthy of mention was Priscilla Lopez in her role as “Berthe”, Pippin’s grandmother. Her hilarious song of “No Time at All” filled the audience with laughter and signing as she encouraged us to sing along with her. In the middle of the song, she ripped off her covering gown and stood on stage in only a sparkly leotard and then proceeded to do a hanging trapeze duet with one of the players, hanging upside-down, while continuing to sign just as flawlessly as she did while her feet were flat on the ground. Not only was her song funny but her quick one liners and witty personality made her a character to remember. On the other hand her grandson, Pippin (played by Sam Lips), left a little more to be desired in his performance. While his interactions with various characters and delivery of lines were all very fluid, his vocal ability was present but very quiet. At times he would belt a note, but then right away he would drop back into his quit sounding voice. In a way, I can see how this could potentially add to his character’s profile of trying to discover his place in the world and being more reserved in his outgoing personality, but I also think it defeats the purpose of character development in the fact that you can’t hear and understand him at times.

                Wrapping everything all together, the storyline of Pippin is weak and this show is more of a big circus act with signing. Don’t get me wrong, it is a very entertaining show but it’s not your ideal example of a perfect musical.