FRINGE REVIEW – Pianodivalicious

*****

As Family Reviewers for Edinburgh Spotlight, we tend to focus very much on reviewing shows which are included in the Fringe Programme as suitable for children. But with a (just) teenager as part of our team, we’re getting to the stage where there’s a need to branch out a little and find entertainment within the Fringe Programme which promises to stretch the boundaries a little without necessarily going to the lengths of being exposed to material which is unsuitable as family entertainment.

So we turned our attention to the Cabaret section of the programme in the hope that we would be able to find an diversion which would be just that, and happened upon the listing for Amy Abler, the performer of the show Pianodivalicious. With a ‘PG’ rating in the programme, we checked first with Amy’s press representative to make sure that there would be nothing too risqué for the younger member of our team.

The venue in the Apex Hotel in the Grassmarket is a small, intimate room suitably festooned with blackout curtaining to create a cabaret venue, and with just 30 seats on offer it certainly provides an opportunity for Ms Abler to get up close and personal with her audience. Indeed, it was a little awkward as a performance space as there is no raised staging, meaning that it was necessary to play at times to a spot just over the top of the audience’s heads to avoid making eye contact.

The performance commenced with much flourishing of feathers – of the boa and fan variety, and distribution of little bits of feathered props to the audience who were encouraged to join in by waving them about enthusiastically. Ms Abler declares that she’s a gal who just loves to play piano, and has a history of having been a classical recitalist as well as a conductor for Broadway shows.

We were treated to a musical entertainment drawing on every different genre of music which we could think of, running from a ragtime opener, through classical medley, rock ‘n’ roll, and country at which point a small accordion was added for both comedic and musical effect. Occasional flashes of humour in the songs were brought out, particularly in an amusing rendition involving descriptions of anti-ageing beauty treatments.

When Amy adds singing to her repertoire, she really ‘gives it laldy’ and we felt that this was an area which she would do well to develop more of as it provides an opportunity to build on the comic moments within her set, and it’s fun!

In all, this was a pleasant hour’s entertainment, and definitely something which we’d recommend for the mature audience who made up the majority on the day we visited. As an adventure in more adult entertainment, our young reviewers were underwhelmed, for which our apologies are due to Ms Abler – it just wasn’t ‘their thing’.

Added comments by Helen (13): I’m not too sure cabaret is my thing, but if I was slightly older I might have got the jokes.

Added comments by Alex (9): I really liked the music, but I think I was too tired at the time to enjoy it.

Until 21 August @ 14:45 Sweet Grasmarket

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