Fringe World Perth 2015

Resident Musician, Fringe World Perth, 2015

0 Comments 20 February 2015

Music & Musicals
By Flash in the Can
De Parel Speigeltent
18 February

Will Pickvance is The Resident Musician, a man who can take one upright piano and make it sound like an entire orchestra.

The resident musician in question is the in-house pianist at Inver, a Scottish castle that that acts as an exclusive hideaway for the worlds most rich and famous. Will Pickvance takes us through highlights of the Inver songbook and has conversations with several of the guests, who are shown as Hunter S. Thompson-esque cartoons on a projector screen. At at intervals he texts a past Inver guest George who has promised Will he will fly him to America and get him an opportunity to play with Harry Connick Jr.

Will Pickvance’s piano playing is an incredible thing to witness. He plays complicated, fast jazz pieces completely from memory and most of the time not even looking at the piano, and the music he creates is as expansive and atmospheric as an entire orchestra. It’s a shame the Speigeltent stage is higher than the audience as it would have been fascinating to be able to watch his hands while he was playing.

The songs parody concepts of wealth; there was one where Will divided the cartoon crowd into those with old money and those with new money. There was also mournful ballad from the point of view of richest man in the world who isn’t understood by those around him. However, there was the feeling that his very British take on wealth and class did not quite click with the Perth Fringe audience. This seemed to be mostly because the humour felt a bit vague; we were not entirely sure what to laugh at. He also addressed the crowd almost the entire time as if we were guests at Inver, and at some points it almost felt like he wanted audience interaction, but then he kept going with the song. The most compelling part of the idea was himself as the ambitious pianist, wanting to escape his lowly job and live-out his dreams playing alongside music greats, but with no means to get away, he’s forced to keep on smiling and playing at Inver.

Despite taking a little while to get into the world that Will Pickvance has dreamed up, Resident Musician is quirky and fun. And, although Will plays the piano for almost an hour without a break, I could have watched him play for far longer.

Resident Musician runs every night at 6:15pm until Sunday 22 February. Tickets can be bought here.

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