The GC – Lounge, Fri 26 Feb
Chopin’s Last Tour sites Chopin in a room at his lodgings in Edinburgh ruminating about his life and trying to decide which pieces he would play (for what was to become his final appearance) at a concert in London. We learn a great deal about how Chopin was feeling at this late stage of his life. And he was not happy. He knew he was dying (he died at the young age of 39) and he disliked being forced to play concerts for people to earn his living. He much preferred the more intimate surroundings of salons or drawing rooms to play his music.
Phil Aughey looked the part in 19th century fashion and hairstyle in the role of Chopin. While the dialogue was interesting enough it lacked the intensity necessary to have an audience really feel the anguish Chopin must have been feeling. Aughey also played several short excerpts of Chopin’s works live on the piano – an extremely ambitious goal by any reckoning.
The problem with this production is that it simply demanded too much of one person to have sufficient presence as an actor to do the story justice, AND play the work of a notoriously difficult composer live. In the end Aughey falls short on both counts.
His attempt at a Polish accent detracted from the performance, and while one must give credit to someone who dares to play Chopin live, there were too many noticeable errors.
The show may have worked better if Aughey had concentrated on one or other aspect of the show, and worked in partnership with someone else. The unfortunate downside of taking on both roles resulted in too many shortcomings in both the dramatic and musical delivery.
Chopin’s Last Tour continues at The GC – Lounge from 6.15 pm until Sat 5 Mar.
Book at FringeTIX on 1300 621 255 or adelaidefringe.com.au. Click HERE to purchase your tickets.