Where’s Pippin? Oh, at SMUS’ 20th Anniversary at Victoria Fringe Festival

30 Aug

Image result for victoria fringe pippinLocation:
St. Michaels University School
3400 Richmond Road

Remaining Shows:
Aug 30 07:00 pm
Aug 31 02:00 pm
Aug 31 07:00 pm

No year of attending the Victoria Fringe Theatre Festival can be complete without a show from St Michaels University School as they put on a high school level production of an award winning Broadway play. This year is notable as the summer program which teaches theatre celebrate 20 years and returns to Pippin. This musical was their very first.

In all the years I’ve been covering this event, I feel it’s worth the trip away from the event core (downtown Victoria) to check out. Fans of Broadway shows will not be disappointed. To note: the cast rotates, so each student gets to play two different roles.

The opening night had more than I usually expected for a show. It’s a coming of age tale set within a medieval world, with music from different eras to support it. The jazz, pop, comedy and sound of the 70s is the most notable. Some years differ from others for the amount of involvement by the local theatre community in realizing this show. Director Cam Culham revealed notable local talents like Britt Small (of Atomic Vaudeville) and Emma St-Denis showed to students a few tricks of the trade.

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This work is filled with plenty of musical numbers and noticeable rising talents in the cast. Paris (who played Fastrada) could be the next Jeanette McCurdy, and seeing the return of a few performers from last year’s Disaster! shows how much they love this program. Their dedication to further their craft speaks for itself than the Broadway show which needs a summary:

The play is loosely based on the historical character of the same name (played by Raine). He is the son of Charlemagne (Max). The youth joins the knighthood but the violence is not for him. He flees and after a few misadventures, finds some solace with Catherine (Alex). Since he has not found the meaning of life just yet, I doubt Terry Gilliam or Eric Idle cannot help.

Some of the best meta moments where The Leading Players (Rachel and Evelyn) break the fourth wall to set up the next scenes are amusing. Some of the lyrics feel they were inspired by Idle’s style. The humour includes a cheerleader who does not know what her cue is. One moment I particularly felt attached to was “Prayer for the Duck” and as for the music, I single out the number, “War is Science” as perhaps the most Pythonesque.

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The meta moments in this work is downright hilarious. The play occasionally breaks the fourth wall. The Leading Players deliver the context needed for the upcoming scenes, and there’s no denying that when Pippen leaves and gets to enjoy the simple life, a cry for foul would be coming. However, I thought the picnic scene with Catherine (“Love Song”) had a few quick genuine moments.

While this year has Broadway Bash which is a mashup of the best of the golden and silver age set to comedy (to which I still have yet to go see), the Fringe theatre enthusiast in me would like a whole show at SMUS than select numbers. That way, I can at least say yes, I’ve seen Hairspray (for example). Although I missed bigger productions of shows like Urinetown at the McPherson Theatre, for one reason or another, I feel these smaller performances are more fun and intimate to attend. Now all I have to do is patiently wait for Shrek …

 

 

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For more 2019 Victoria Fringe Theatre Reviews, please visit Twohungryblokes.com

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One Response to “Where’s Pippin? Oh, at SMUS’ 20th Anniversary at Victoria Fringe Festival”

  1. mphtheatregirl 2019-08-30 at 11:10 am #

    I love Pippin. I have seen the revival production- with all the circus elements. My favorite song is “Corner of the Sky”. I saw it in May 2015.

    Like

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