been | The Pianist

The Pianist’s (Thomas Monckton) worst nightmare was the source of my entertainment last night at Aotea Centre’s Herald Theatre.

Centred around the magnificent grand piano, the poised pianist’s attempts to impress the audience transforms the elegant performance into a catastrophically funny circus act. With an engaging, silent energy that is reminiscent of Charlie Chaplin, Monckton carries himself clumsily through the curtains and straight into bedlam.

From the minute he actually made it onto the stage, Monckton had the audience reeling with laughter. His implementation of circus technique intertwined with his own physical finesse is absurd yet seamless: the juggling of the manuscript, hanging from the chandelier by his feet, flinging his body across the piano. These all reaped their own rewards as the entertainer worked to overcome the barriers presented to him.

Source: Heli Sorjonen

Source: Heli Sorjonen

The repetitive nature of Monckton’s performance gave way to a man desperate to perform to his regaling audience members. His adamant “professional pianist” act only drew more shrieks of amusement from the crowd. Monckton played on these reactions, at one point clambering through the audience to attack the lighting team, who refused to correct their misplaced spotlighting. Encouraging the audience, he flung reams of paper over our heads, throwing them at audience members who mocked him.

Whilst a large portion of the show focuses on the humorous, we see the pianist finally get his shining moment as he performs a complex piece. This moment only lasts a short while before smoke begins to pour out of the opening of the grand piano and he frantically rushes off the stage.

The comedic style and cunning, combined with the impeccable use of circus techniques, make The Pianist an evening of excitement and hilarity for everyone.