Review: The First Piano on the Moon at Summerhall

Words Christiana Spens

My son is four years old and has never been to the Fringe before, and although being very theatrically-inclined, is a little unsure about it all. ‘A woman is wearing seventeen hats! That doesn’t make sense… It’s hilarious…’ He says as a girl walks by, carrying merchandise of some kind… He then finds one such top hat in a bush and proceeds to wear it into his first show, First Piano On the Moon, in the old Anatomy Lecture Theatre in Summerhall. 

In the intimate venue, as children (and adults) sit at their wooden desks, the spectre of Will Pickvance, the pianist in the striped shirt, is mesmerising from the beginning. He plays adaptations of Mozart, Beethoven and Scott Joplin in a charming story of a boy sent to Salzburg to play in a grand concert celebrating Mozart’s birthday, in a way that is delightfully accessible and magical for the children and adults alike. My son, and the other children there, were truly enchanted—they mimed and danced along to the moving story and music, and were greeted and encouraged by the warm and inviting William throughout. 

What was particularly special about the show was its simplicity; one man brought all the excitement, magic and joyfulness of childhood love of music to life, just with a piano and a school bag, and his enthusiasm was beautifully infectious. He included the children throughout and created a truly mesmerizing experience where the audience could let their imaginations run free. 

Capturing the joy of learning piano, and enjoying music, Will provided an inspirational performance for young audiences. My son did not stop talking about the ‘funny musician’ for hours afterwards. ‘I loved the musician,’ he said. ‘He didn’t know what an encore was! I do, now.’ Truly, encore. 

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