First Piano on the Moon (Revisited)

Aug 7 2023 | By More

★★★★☆      Twinkling

Summerhall (Venue 26): Fri 4 – Sun 27 Aug 2023
Review by Hugh Simpson

First Piano on the Moon (Revisited), from Will Pickvance at Summerhall, makes an accomplished show even better.

What was already a charming and intelligent piece of musical entertainment for all ages has been expanded into theatrical experience with more interaction, more coherence and much more visual impact.

Will Pickvance and Ben Winger perform Will Pickvance’s First Piano on the Moon Pic: Peter Dibdin

The story of young Will (played by old Will), his reliance on musical tricks rather than piano practice, his journey to play at Mozart’s birthplace, and his encounter with the ghost of Mozart, is a well judged combination of autobiography, flights of fancy and musical backing.

The addition of a second performer (alternating between Ben Winger and Samuel Jameson) to play the other roles, such as Will’s parent, other youngsters or the pivotal role of Mozart himself, adds greatly to the spectacle.

The second actor (Jameson on this occasion) increases the scope for comedy, something that he proves adept at. It also makes for a greater interaction with the audience, something that Pickvance, while skilled at doing, finds necessarily limited while playing the piano. This includes one section that makes greater reference to the title, even if the comparative lack of moon-based material is the only thing that could disappoint any space-obsessed youngsters.

pitched just right

The rest of it is pitched just right for young and old, never talking down or assuming either knowledge or ignorance, simply knowing that music will speak to them. The musical excursions, whether playing the piano upside-down, or Happy Birthday played in a bewildering variety of styles, retain the power to impress and captivate.

Themes of individuality or the nature of ‘genius’ are there if you want to explore them, but never stressed disproportionately.

The expanded production benefits from an expanded palette. Drawings by Tim Vincent-Smith, animated by Will Monks and projected on to Monks’s cleverly designed set, add a further level. Finlay Murray’s technical operation is notably strong.

As a family-friendly production – or a diversion to ease even the most jaded of palates – this comes heartily recommended.

Running time: 55 minutes (no interval)
Summerhall (Tech Cube 0), 1 Summerhall, EH9 1PL (Venue 26)
Friday 4 – Sunday 27 August 2023
Daily (not 14, 21) at 11.50 am.
Tickets and details Book Here

Previous reviews of First Piano on the Moon: Click here.

Will Pickvance links


Twitter: @willpickvance
Facebook: @pickvance
Instagram: @willpickvance

Will Pickvance and Ben Winger in Will Pickvance’s First Piano on the Moon at Summerhall. Pic: Peter Dibdin



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