Dramatic musical dissection in harmony with delicate endearing dialogue

By Myron My

Will Pickvance has brought his critically acclaimed and sell-out show from the 2013 Edinburgh Fringe Festival to Australia, and all I can say is how fortunate I feel to have been able to see this brilliant performance.

Anatomy of The Piano

In Anatomy of The Piano, Pickvance presents the physical, emotional and spiritual inner workings of the piano in a whimsical and ethereal way. His presence on stage is so relaxed and serene that you are instantly swept up for the ride as he tells his stories and sings his songs around the dissection of a piano. We begin with the skin of the piano: its largest “organ”, and how it protects the piano from “toddler invasion, curiosity blunders and drunken burns”. As we delve further into the dissection, descriptions become more and more detailed until it feels like we are, in fact, taking apart a living thing – a real character.

Throughout the show, Pickvance uses a projector on the other side of the stage to display various diagrams, charts and drawings of pianos. It creates the didactic feeling of being a child again and the simple black and white drawings bring a level of innocence and open-eyed wonder to the possibility of what can be – and now I can admit I finally know the actual difference between a grand piano and an upright piano…

The finale had audience members shouting out for an encore: Pickvance kindly obliged and took us out with a highly impressive final play on the upright piano (see what I did there?) Anatomy of The Piano is not a show where a lot happens but the eloquence and poetry of Pickvance’s words combined with his spectacular piano skills ensured that his audience and I remained highly enthralled by this performance.

Venue: The Butterfly Club, 256 Collins St (entry via Carson Place), Melbourne

Season: Until 23 January 7:00pm, Sun 6:00pm.

Tickets: $28 Full | $25 Conc