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Written by: Thomas Monckton & Sanna Silvennoinen
Directed by: Thomas Monckton & Sanna Silvennoinen
22 April – 3 May 2014
Presented by Show Pony
Produced by Circo Aereo (Finland) and Show Pony (NZ)
At the peak of high society entertainment sits The Pianist’s pianist. He is, in a word: perfection. Or at least… that’s what he thinks.
The Pianist is a solo comic contemporary circus piece by Thomas Monckton. The show is centred on, in, under, and around one of the most magnificent of all musical instruments, the grand piano. Accompanying this elegant apparatus is the poised pianist himself. Only he is so focused on impressing everyone that before he realizes it, his show has transformed from the highbrow concert he hoped for into the spectacularly amusing catastrophe that is The Pianist. To salvage his somewhat unsalvageable dignity the pianist draws on his imagination and comes up with some rib-tickling and absurd results.
The Pianist mixes classical clowning with contemporary circus to produce a charming piece of comedy about the lure of luxury.
Starring Thomas Monckton
22 April − 03 May
Saturday matinee 2:00pm
$28 students / beneficiaries / seniors / Friends of Circa
$20 under 25s and industry
FAMILY pass: 2 adults and 2 kids = $80 (only available by phone or in person)
Sublime comedy in getting everything so perfectly wrong
BY UTHER DEAN, THEATREVIEW, 23 APRIL 2014
Thom Monckton’s latest solo silent work of circus and clown, The Pianist,has a lot to live up to. His previous show, Moving Stationery, was the big sell-out hit of the 2012 Wellington Fringe, sweeping the awards and going on to nab the Lecoq trained Monckton a Best Actor gong at that year’s Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards.
Moving Stationary was exemplary clowning: hilarious from start to end, endlessly physical, a jaw-droppingly wonderful hour of theatre. With that show, Monckton set himself a seemingly impossibly high bar for all his future output.
Luckily, The Pianist not only matches that bar, it vaults it completely. This is show is somehow more hilarious, more amazingly physical, it is another jaw-droppingly wonderful hour of theatre.
The game is the same as Stationary: we get to watch an increasingly frazzled man fail more and more spectacularly at regular everyday tasks. This time the struggle is much more of a performative one: we bear witness to the titular pianist attempting a recital for us. And, of course, every single possible thing that could make his life harder, from the chandelier hanging just a bit too low to the oddly unforgiving curtains through which he struggles to emerge to the piano, which is saturated with such a patina of challenges and problems that it becomes almost a character in and of itself.
That we are present this time – we are the pianist’s audience as well as The Pianist‘s audience – adds a level of comic tension to the work that Monckton masterfully manipulates throughout, sometimes clambering through us, creating a beautiful and spontaneous sense that anything can happen. Even the technical operator himself is not safe, becoming another of the malevolent forces against which Monckton struggles.
There is something oddly satisfying about watching someone really work on stage; really put their back into it. Monckton is shiny with sweat by the ten minute mark and that’s only the beginning of his exertions. Watching someone so physically competent and so well-trained playing at such clumsiness and awkwardness borders on the sublimely delightful.
Monckton’s pianist manages to get everything so perfectly wrong that, on the opening night, the laughter was constant and rounds of applause climbed into double digits. Whether he be doing something as grand as falling off a piano or swinging from a chandelier or as small as dropping his score, each moment is a sublimely machined moment of comedy perfection.
To go into more detail of the goings-on of this hour of clowning would be to spoil the joy of their surprise but know that no comic opportunity is left unmined in this superlative work. I cannot think of a single person who would not immediately fall in love with The Pianist. Highly recommended.
Suitable for audiences of all ages.
Running time: 55 minutes (no interval)
NO LATE ADMITTANCE