First of all, apologies for this one being so late, not that anyone’s been waiting on pins and needles for it (and if you have, stop it, you’ll hurt yourself). Still, I caught this show that I’m about to blather about back on Friday, and here we are in Monday (that’s Foofarah country!) and it’s still not reviewed and raved about. Well, let’s correct that, shall we?
The show in question, at the illustrious and well-lit National Arts Centre, was one 2 PIANOS 4 HANDS, written by, directed by, starring, and slam-dunked by Ted Dykstra and Richard Greenblatt. It’s a show they’ve been working for 125 years now, and the story is that this year is their farewell to the piece, and Ottawa was one of the lucky recipients of a final look. We’re pretty lucky for the opportunity, I can safely say.
Ted and Richard star in this inspired musical comedy as, basically, themselves, as they chart their lives on the piano from earliest lessons via bored teachers, to soul-crushing exams inflicted by cruel masters of the form. Along the way, every good joke to be mined out of piano lessons is expertly dug up and fired gleefully towards the audience. I actually felt sorry that I’d never taken lessons myself, because I could just HEAR those in the audience who had, groaning or wincing with knowing familiarity as our heroes were grilled about arcane musical terminology and driven through ever-more challenging pieces. The lads take turns playing the others’ teachers, mentors and (as the case may be) tormentors with terrific charm…Ted Dykstra’s nearly suicidal Kiwanis spokesperson was a comedy highlight, for sure.
The music, of course, is dynamite, with the boys proving their detractors wrong by dazzling in several extended musical interludes. My only polite complaint about the show is that, as a play, it doesn’t exactly have an ending. Although they still manage to bring down the house, so that’s a minor point, I suppose. It’s a fantastic time, and you probably WILL be sore from laughing, and just plain grinning like a sucker. PIANOS is classic feel-good theatre, and a pretty can’t-miss night out. Congrats to the lads for a grand run on this show, and I’m very glad I got to see it before they packed it away. Peace, love and soul,
The Visitor (and Winston)