Will Pickvance: Pianologues
- David Pollock
- 6 August 2017
Deeply personal show from the Fringe's favourite pianist
Following on from his previous Fringe shows Anatomy of the Piano and Pianomorphosis, Will Pickvance has claimed an annual space at this venue which might almost be described as a residency. It's an ideal match of show and space, because the weary old pipes and peeling walls of Summerhall reflect perfectly the lived-in nostalgia of Pickvance's show. He sits at an elderly, careworn piano under a vintage standard lamp and tells us stories that interweave perfectly with the continual stream of virtuoso music which he plays throughout the show.
For the early part of his performance, these stories seem unrooted in any shared context, from Pickvance's carnivalesque tale of his granddad fighting a boxing match, to his own rock'n'roll-styled story of playing backing for an Elvis impersonator, to drawing room reveries of drunken, late night sessions playing music with his father. These tales, and the show, take time to coalesce, even loosely, and at times they feel like almost frivolous sketches, music hall comedy tales told in an intimate piano bar manner.
Yet an hour hearing Pickvance play is never wasted, and his final, deeply personal reflection upon being a son and a father – to the sound of Schubert's version of Goethe's 'Erlkönig' (The Elf King), sung in German, no less – is worth holding on for.
Summerhall, until 20 Aug, 7.40pm, £12 (£9).