First Piano on the Moon

Aug 21 2022 | By More

★★★★☆     Endearing

Pianodrome at the Old Royal High (Venue 391): Sat 20/Sun 21, Sat 27/Sun 28Aug 2022
Review by Hugh Simpson

Will Pickvance’s First Piano on the Moon at Pianodrome is a charming show aimed at families with children 6 and up, mixing tunefulness, storytelling and warmth.

The engaging story of a young, piano-obsessed boy who is chosen to perform at Mozart’s birthplace in Salzburg seems at least partly autobiographical – although the parts featuring Mozart’s ghost are presumably invention.

First Piano on The Moon. PIc Peter Dibdin

There are dips into Pickvance’s musical bag of tricks – playing the piano upside-down or blindfold, or playing tunes back-to-front. These echoes of Victor Borge are carried through in the bravura development of Happy Birthday To You into tango, blues, rock’n’ roll and other styles.

This is all accompanied by a pleasingly intimate performing style that includes the younger audience members without ever patronising them. Indeed, it is assumed that they will all be receptive to classical music, and to the lightly-worn messages about how dedication and love can make ‘something out of something’.

puckish persona

This may all sound frightfully cosy, but Pickvance’s puckish persona, while constantly endearing, is never twee. Magda Dragan’s stage direction, meanwhile, is wonderfully lucid.

The show’s main drawback is probably that title. While it is justified in the narrative, it does set up the promise to an audience of children of a whole lot more space-based fun than materialises.

Even so, this is well worth seeing, if only to experience the extraordinary Pianodrome Amphitheatre, an intriguing, many-sided space made of old pianos. Located in the depths of the old Royal High, it is a beautiful space, helped considerably by staff who know exactly how to deal subtly with latecomers and those odd problems a young audience can bring.

Running time 55 minutes (no interval)
Pianodrome at the Old Royal High, 5-7 Regent Rd, EH7 5BL (Venue 391)
Saturday 20/Sunday 21 and Saturday 27/Sunday 28 August 2022
Mornings: 11.00.
Information and tickets: Book here.

Will Pickvance website:
Facebook: @willpickvance/
Instagram: @willpickvance
Twitter: willpickvance


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