This article contains opinion.
Theater by the Grove presented “Pippin,” the famed musical about a man looking for fulfillment and purpose in his life.
From becoming a soldier in search of glory to caring for a boy and his duck, “Pippin” is a show that will keep you on your toes. Stepping away from the story for a moment, let us focus on what IUP’s production brought to the table.
The leading player, not just by name but in performance, absolutely stole the show. Taking his already charismatic personality in to his character, J’Quay Lamonte Gibbs (theater and dance) took charge of his troupe and commanded the stage.
Backing him up with over the top acting and singing were Lauren Eylicio (theater and dance) and Blakely Watkins (theater and dance), playing Fastrada and Berthe, respectively. However, a show cannot be complete without its star, which was Davey Beyer (art) playing the role of Pippin on Sunday.
Perfectly portraying his need for purpose in life, Beyer brought to the stage energy and charm. With strong vocals and choreography from the rest of the ensemble, the cast was extraordinary. However, almost no show is without its faults.
The area where “Pippin” falls short was in the balance of audio. At many times in the show, the orchestra overpowered the singing of the cast, or vice versa. This was prominently noticed in the first act and slowly got better as the showed progressed.
Another noticeable moment came half way through the second act, when the leading player exited the stage. Once out of audience view, you could hear him having a brief conversation with a member of the crew backstage. While it was caught quickly, it occurred for long enough for myself and a few other audience members around to look up and be taken out of the current scene for a few seconds.
Aspects of the show that easily cover these minor hiccups was the use of lighting and props. When swords clashed, it felt as if they were real swords. The death of Charlemagne being reversed felt balanced and believable between the colored lighting and sound effects. The smoke and pit used to give the urge of fire at the finale also added production value to the scene.
All in all, “Pippin” is a fantastic show that hits it out of the park with an amazing cast, lighting, props and costumes and overall production. Even the tiniest of mistakes wouldn’t stop most from seeing it again, as each time you see a show it can be different.
It will run until Friday.