Colour and craziness in Spotlight Theatre’s Pippin

10 Mar

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By Emily Selleck, Bond University Journalism Student

Bob Fosse’s 1972 Broadway smash Pippin has hit the stage at Spotlight Theatre and, as promised, is nothing short of extraordinary.

Director Trent Ivett, known for his unique and specific vision, said conventional isn’t quite his style, describing the show as esoteric.

“I like the process to be as good as the product, but in this case we had a number of obstacles to move past,” he said.

“There wasn’t a lot of familiarity with Pippin or comprehension of the show itself in the initial stages so it took some work for everyone to find the direction to drive their characters.”

The title character, based fictitiously on the life of King Charlemagne’s son, is the first major lead role undertaken by John Davidson, who last year played the Scarecrow in Spotlight’s Wizard of Oz.

“One of the best things about this role is the creative freedom I’ve had,” he said.

“Pippin is much lesser known than the Scarecrow so it’s been great to have some creative license and work alongside such a talented group of young actors to find Pippin’s corner of the sky.”

With four shows a week, seasoned cast member Farryn Davies, who was all but born in the footlights, said everything comes back to feeding off each other’s energy.

“After three consecutive performances, Sunday matinees are notoriously tough but there is always instant adrenaline when we get on stage,” he said.

“Ultimately, when someone’s having a bad day, another is having a good day and it doesn’t take much to remember that we’re all here because of a shared passion for the show.”

Audience interaction is a key component of Pippin as ensemble member Stephanie Toft said she’s given everything a go from requesting hi-fives to flirting in character with those in the front row.

“This is a really touchy show, it’s very eccentric and pushed us beyond our comfort zones so we needed to get close even quicker than a cast usually would,” Stephanie said.

The 12-week process not only brings together a cast.

Spotlight relies heavily on volunteers like lighting technician Koreena Nesbitt, who put the show together from behind the scenes.

“The only way to describe Spotlight Theatre is as a family,” Koreena said.

“everyone is welcome and we’re all here to have fun. Of course, we share the same passion for theatre and the show we’re putting together but the highpoint is definitely the people we’re alongside and having a home away from home.”

Pippin features a number of Broadway hits from Magic to Do and Extraordinary to Corner of the Sky and I Guess I’ll Miss the Man.

Final tickets are on sale at spotlighttheatre.com.au.

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