<bt>Park View brings to stage the modern musical "Pippin," but does so with an original and risqué style not found on many high school stages. The cast has taken a lot of risks with this production, and the end result is well received, and is a huge hit with the audience.
Set outside of any concrete time or setting, "Pippin" tells the story of a young man's journey to discover himself against the adversities that face any youth on the path to adulthood. The young heir to Charlemagne's throne, Pippin (played by Jamie Chahine), goes on a journey to find out the meaning of his life, and in the end must choose between a life of complacency with Catherine, the woman he loves (played by Michelle White), and a life of physical pleasures as offered by the Lead Player (Philip Bernier) and his group of Players.
Jamie is a surprising success, and has no problem making the character his own. Not only is his acting lively, but his singing is as equally impressive. Philip, who plays the Lead Player, is constantly precise and graceful with every movement. He brings a certain energy to the performance that is hard to describe with words, but enjoyable to watch. Kim Griffin as Berthe steals the show with her song "It's Time to Start Living," and Krista Rios as Fastrada exhibits qualities of a true high school diva in "Sunshine." All the leads give solid performances, but at times seem to struggle to keep the tempo with the live orchestra.
Though the leads in the play are all truly talented, the best performance in the show is given collectively by the chorus, a group named the Players. These 15 actors and actresses are, for lack of any better word, amazing. Each displays a unique personality and character, while at the same time, maintaining a uniformity that ties them together. Their movements, for the most part, are sharp and each line is well delivered. They're fun to watch, no matter at what point in the play. While each member of the Players gives knock-out performances during the dance routines, Cristin White and Daniel Bernier both stand out as two major talents in their own right.
Costumes, designed by Dawn Moore, are edgy and definitely daring, but some might say a little too revealing. (Others who enjoy a little more flesh might disagree.) Katy Hershberger and Kim Griffin's makeup designs are much innovated, above usual high school production quality, and the face paint designs on the Players are an artistic bonus that adds a lot of personality to the show. Though some might call the set dull, Justin Rodgers' design fits the very modern and experimental quality of the play. The sound equipment seems to work off and on inconsistently, but the actors manage to keep themselves heard without a problem.
Park View's "Pippin" is an exceptional show with a character and life all to its own. The performance Thursday night had a couple opening night glitches, but talent and hard work shined through and the end product can make every Patriot proud.
"Pippin" plays at Park View High School May 9, 10, 11 at 7:30 p.m. and May 12 at 2 p.m.