Worbey and Farrell: Deviations On the Piano (3 stars)

This article is from 2013

Worbey and Farrell

Polite piano duets à la Classic FM takes place at the Edinburgh Festival

En route to the Assembly Rooms, a retired chap in all-terrain sandals describes walking out of a comedy show once the farting competition began. If only he had chosen Worbey and Farrell instead: two polite and well-mannered fellows in waistcoats playing duets on a grand piano. Cross Daniel O’Donnell with Classic FM and you are smelling the Persil from the audience's well-pressed slacks already.

Bona fide concert pianists, Worbey and Farrell initially keep their virtuosity quiet with showy party pieces, funny faces and some endearingly lame patter. There is an educational bit where various film soundtracks are recreated with marbles on piano strings. It stays on the right side of gimmicky.

When the overhead camera comes on, and we can watch their four hands scooting over the keys, however, it becomes clear that it's ferociously difficult to make complex duets sound this effortless. Their own composition, ‘Deviations on Paganini's Caprice’, is a hugely accomplished and technically eye-dropping piece of manual choreography. Kevin Farrell has to blink sweat from his eyes as he plays.

A highlight, however, is their version of Coldplay's ‘Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall’. It sounds so much better without the whiny nasal vocal.

The Assembly Rooms, 556 5375, until 15 Aug, 2.45pm, £9–£10.