Life as a circus act can have various connotations – for the better or worse.
Lately, though, no one is celebrating the joys of an unconventional existence better than the glorious Adrienne Barbeau. Barbeau, known to upscale terror connoisseurs as the eclectic face of such horror efforts as The Fog, Creepshow, Swamp Thing, Two Evil Eyes and so many others, is currently touring the country in the colorfully effective revival tour of Pippin.
The Tony Award winning show follows the adventures of Pippin, a recently graduated scholar, who longs to have a life of importance and meaning. Seemingly performed by a Middle Ages style burlesque troupe, this traveling production features a bevy of professional circus performers in its cast, who all add breathtaking flair to the proceedings and who help make Barbeau’s main musical number a truly memorable one.
After his first disheartening attempt at transcendence, via his participation as a soldier in one of his king father’s wars, Pippin (a sweetly bumbling Sam Lips) goes to visit his grandmother, Berthe (Barbeau), for encouragement. As played by Barbeau, Berthe is saucy, but tender and she, fully and lovingly, connects with Lips’ bedraggled wanderer. With vibrant voice, Barbeau, also, brings playful and subtle force to Berthe’s creed and grand advice to Pippin, No Time at All.
Skillfully engaging with the audience throughout the song, which encourages everyone to live as though there were no tomorrow (because, indeed, there may be no tomorrow), Barbeau eventually truly amazes with some daring, high wire feats.
Ascending on a swing, center stage, Berthe/Barbeau flips around and under the floating apparatus with the aid of a flexible, bare chested fellow performer. It is simply a wonder to behold and proof positive that anything is possible if one puts a mind to it.
Most importantly, though, Barbeau, who began her career on Broadway in Fiddler on the Roof and the original production of Grease, seems to be having an amazing time reconnecting with her roots. Pippin, which radiates with a darkly magical flair, also, seems to be a return of sorts to her work as Ruthie in Carnivale, one of her favored roles. These circumstances add up to make her the delicious heart of the production.
The Pippin touring schedule is available at http://www.pippinthemusical.com/tour.php.
Barbeau, meanwhile, is reachable at http://www.abarbeau.com and https://www.facebook.com/4abarbeau.
Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!