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Sunday, May 19, 2024

Theatre review: The Pianist: A Concert Catastrophe is family-friendly fun

A piano concert goes horribly and hilariously awry

The Pianist: A Concert Catastrophe is classy, ridiculous, and filled with joyful giggles and guffaws.

Thomas Monckton is a gangly, fluffy haired man of high culture. Arriving on stage to find his piano covered, he quickly reveals himself to be a brilliant mime, an acrobatic clown and a lovely storyteller.

From the outset things start going wrong in what becomes a dizzyingly crescendo of chaos. The piano leg falls off, only a portion of the lid opens, and while attempting to get his music, Monckton becomes entangled in the chandelier above the stage.

Every small disaster or set back gets exploited in delicious detail and Monckton will often stop and play out little stories or sketches. In one scene a finger puppet show takes on a life of its own as it moves from a race, to a courtship, to family, aging and ultimately death.

Monckton’s clown persona is classic, yet original: anarchy reigns as he glowers at an uncooperative spotlight, he is playfully cute with a broken music stand, and sheepishly proud when tangled in a knot. A world-class entertainer, it is Monckton’s personality and expressions that make his skillful gymnastics rise above.

This mostly wordless circus piece is suitable for all ages, with a 7:00pm family-friendly show time.  Takes the kids, but don’t be surprised as you join in with the snorting and laughing at this ludicrous pageant of elegance and buffoonery.

The Pianist: A Concert Catastrophe continues at the York Theatre (639 Commercial Drive, Vancouver) until November 6. Visit for tickets and information.

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