Anatomy of the Piano

Will Pickvance captures the ephemeral nature of a musician in love with their instrument.
Anatomy of the Piano

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 

Fringe World
5 - 9 February 

The Basement, Sydney, 12 February

Darwin Entertainment Centre, Darwin, 15 February

Butterfly Club, Melbourne, 19 – 23 February

Mariyon Slany

Monday 10 February, 2014

About the author

Mariyon Slany runs her own communications and art consultancy. Her formal qualifications in Visual Arts, Literature and Communications combine well with her experience in media and her previous work as WA’s Artbank Consultant for her current position as Public Art Consultant.