Will Pickvance is more than anything else, a piano player. An improvising pianist by make-up, religiously practicing Bach Fugues, Beethoven sonatas and Brahms intermezzi, not with the intention of performing these great works but rather to feed a never-ending quest for musical vocabulary and depth in his own inventions. He cannot recall not being able to play the piano and cannot imagine what it must be like not to be able to play the piano.
Ages 6 and up
Anatomy of the Piano (for beginners)
- Best for ages six and up
- 55 minutes, no intermission
- Suggested seating capacity: 50-300
- Suggested venue: black box, small recital hall, small proscenium
Will asks Father Christmas for a space ship, but he gets a piano instead. As he tries to work out how he might use it to reach the moon, Will is drawn into a fantastic pianistic adventure that sees him finding Bach in a cave, meeting a bad-tempered Beethoven and jamming with ‘Fats’ Waller.
Using music, humor and visuals to tell the fascinating story of the piano and some of the great musicians who have transformed what it can do, Will discovers that through music you can go anywhere you want. The show features whirlwind piano playing, songs and stories as well as hand-drawn projections.
- Will delivers the show as part storyteller, part nutty professor, underscoring his spoken word on the piano for most of the performance. The music brings dramatic effect to the narrative, but also demonstrates the mechanics of the instrument and the development of piano music genres. There are sections of more extended playing that bookend each section. Gentle audience participation punctuates the story, including shouting out musical terms in Italian.Illustrations by Tim Vincent-Smith are projected on the screen over the piano. These illustrations clarify elements of the spoken show whilst adding another level of humorous engagement. They reveal the insides of the piano on one slide and demonstrate pianos swimming in their ancestral form in the sea in the next.
- Best for a main stage audience
Part recital, part metamorphosis, Pianomorphosis is Will Pickvance, his piano and his stories. He takes us inside the workings of the piano concert with his trademark pianistic expression and yarn-spinning charm, regaling the audience with biographical anecdotes, with one hand ambling through the bass notes of his next ditty. Taking us from his youth through his fabled residency at Skibo Castle Will plays solos and tells stories.
“Sitting somewhere between a storytelling and a recital, Anatomy of the Piano (for Beginners) is a delightful romp through piano music and the perfect antidote to scale and arpeggio-induced boredom.”
“Masterful performance from a virtuoso player.”
“Pickvance does play the piano very, very well. His performance has a thoughtful structure…..The pace of the show is riveting…..His silly whimsical fancies about flying to the moon on a piano seem to come true at the end, with an impressive fantastic finale that captivates everyone.”