I really enjoyed my week in Brighton playing piano for a theatre show.
We were based in Grand Central – see photo – right by the train station. It could hardly have been better in terms of access – we were accomodated in rooms on the top floor, with the theatre space being on the middle floor and the ground floor being a really nice pub. Happy Days! Also, as Brighton afficionados will know – the “laines” are great streets to go for a wander in either browsing shops during the day, or for a tipple of an evening.
The shows went really well – we performed around 100 in all – (remember each is only 5 munites long, we’re not superhuman) and audience reaction was very gratifying.
We got several reviews too – all four stars out of five – one of them even going so far as to give me a nice mention “The pianist, in particular, plays out a delightful low-key cameo, all wild-eyed enthusiasm as he hammers the ivories discordantly in the background.” (I hasten to add the particular piece that reviewer chose was called “the discovery of fear in the stomache” – a somewhat grizzly tale, so the dischordant notes were (mostly) intentional.
I also got to exercise my rusty comedy skills, as we improvised a short passage in one of the pieces were I had a pretend strop and had to be enticed back into finishing the piece – great fun. We played it like somewhere in the territory between Cooke and Moore and Morecambe and Wise!
The main performer Jake Oldershaw was very impressive, his presence comfortably dominating the space and enthralling the audience – given we were performing up to six hours per day and he had Mollie, his toddler daughter with us ensuring he didnt sleep in, the energy he put in was quite remarkable.
Jack our technical guy was very able and great company and Steven and everyone at the Nightingale Theatre were very warm and generous so combined with the enjoyment of being a professional pianist for a whole week, it was a great experience.