Will Pickvance captures the ephemeral nature of a musician in love with their instrument.
Going into the Perth CBD for a late night Perth Fringe World show, Anatomy of the Piano, coincides with the opening night fireworks for the Perth International Arts Festival - and so the city is streaming with punters. It’s a shame a few more of them don’t make the journey into the former Piccadilly Cinema art deco surrounds to catch this young piano virtuoso.
Will Pickvance’s unassuming air strikes a particular underplayed type of British dry humour in his Australian premiere of Anatomy of the Piano. The show – a monologue addressed to the audience along with Pickvance’s well-timed playing – strikes me as attempting to capture the ephemeral nature of a musician in love with their instrument.
The very talented Pickvance performs a range of styles from honky tonk, jazz, classical to his medley of well-known Victorian tunes. Other theme songs include interesting Christmas and other national anthem type variations, as well as lovely original improvisational pieces which accompany his obscure whimsy and analogies to fully explain the piano.
But it does feel like Will Pickvance suffers from the classical musician’s disease of not wanting to promote their achievements (which is of course a nice contrast to over-selling of talents that we get in some much other entertainment) and with the technical variations in sound delivery, it seems that the performer struggles with his connection with the audience on this particular night.
It would be interesting to catch another night, when perhaps the performer and audience are more in synch, as his ‘pianocity’ (from his dictionary of self-created piano language) is fantastic, and the Spike Milligan-esque drawings greatly assist in unfolding this musical history journey of the Genus ‘Piano’. I particularly love the distinction between the spineless upright and the fully spined grand piano (you really need the drawings for this one!) and the ‘bent’ and ‘not bent’ explanation.
Rating: 3 ½ out of 5 stars
Anatomy of the Piano
Performed & Written by Will Pickvance
Noodle Palace, The Barry Hall, Hay St
5 - 9 February
The Basement, Sydney, 12 February
Darwin Entertainment Centre, Darwin, 15 February
Butterfly Club, Melbourne, 19 – 23 February