Eliza Cusack

This month, Sydney Observer spoke with the multi-talented Kerri-Anne Kennerley, as she prepares for her role in Pippin premiering this month at the Sydney Lyric Theatre. The Tony-Award winning show is characterised by its death-defying acrobatics and tells the story of a young man who is at a crossroad in his life. Unsure if he should follow in the footsteps of his powerful father, or explore his own fate, the play is a coming of age story that viewers of all ages will enjoy. The Broadway show is described as a ‘play within a play’ and is told by a group of travelling acrobats and actors who give life to the story through its astonishing musical numbers.

Kerri-Anne will play Grandma Berthe, with her role requiring her to sing whilst balancing upside down on a trapeze. Kerri-Anne said of the dedicated team and crew members, “they are so invested in this show, it’s got extraordinary choreographed acrobatics. It’s a story about a travelling circus group and the dynamics around that. It’s really a very energetic show.” Kerri-Anne has had a fascinating career, spanning more than 50 years in the industry. From her talk show to her role as daytime host at Midday, to a contestant on Dancing with the Stars, and most recently a co host on Studio 10, Kerri-Anne has shown versatility as an entertainer time and time again.

Despite her challenging roles over the years, Kerri-Anne believes her part in Pippin may be the most challenging of them all. “I was called and sent a video of the particular role that I’m doing and to be quite frank, my first thought was ‘oh there’s no way I can do that!’ I thought it was a fun song, but the trapeze element was very daunting!” After her role at Studio 10, Kerri-Anne was hoping her next project would be a bit slower-paced, but boy was she wrong. “How I’ve ended up going from only working two or three days a week out of choice to working six days a week and now coming up to eight shows a week, is beyond me!” The musical is set to mark the return of theatre in Australia after the industry was hit hard due to the pandemic. Pippin will be the first show unveiled in Australian theatres since they were shut in March, with Aussies set to embrace the return of theatre with open arms. “I think in terms of getting theatre back, NSW has done very well and I’m absolutely positive that Sydney will embrace getting back to the theatre and I think this is a terrific show to start with,” concluded Kerri-Anne.

Pippin will be playing from November 24 until January 17.