La Bohème, Fri 17 Feb.
The only certainty in a piano chick’s life is that she will eventually be sacked from every single job. It’s a brutal truth perhaps, but in this show it seems far from tragic as Ms Becky Blake romps us through scenarios routinely encountered by the working troubadour. What is extraordinary about this show is how she manages to deliver a well-deserved serve to venue managers, even venues themselves, and of course punters (‘Play Piano Man’; ‘Go Crows’), without a moment of meanness. It’s good-natured throughout, and funny with it, displaying foibles without crossing lines into the deep scorn and disrespect that might have tempted a less-seasoned observer. And perhaps that’s the secret of success not only for the event but for the real-life performer whose story this is. It’s flirty without being (seriously) dirty, rueful without being nasty, cynical without a hint of despair.
As for the music, well, Ms Blake really can sing, there’s no doubt about that. The songs are mostly late-20th Century standards with a few surprises (‘Acka on piano?’), truncated to suit theatrical purpose, accompaniments remade to reflect this pianist’s style, occasional artful rewordings, and a small handful of originals. But what’s mesmerising is her command of the keys, truly an extension of her elegant fingers as she plays entirely by touch. Her eyes constantly roam the room, she engages beautifully with her audience, and her face is incredibly mobile and expressive.
This show is playful and fun. There are belly laughs. The lady can sing, act and play. Pacing is nicely maintained. The script is interesting and varied, skilfully delivered, never feeling artificial. The first night full house just ate her up, with no trouble at all believing the character’s last words are also those of the artist: when sitting at the keyboard ‘I am home’.
Confessions Of A Piano Chick continues at La Bohème from 7pm until Fri 3 Mar.
Book at FringeTIX on 1300 621 255 or adelaidefringe.com.au. Click HERE to purchase your tickets.