By Jen McGregor
Amy Abler loves playing the piano. She tells us this repeatedly during her show, but even if she hadn’t mentioned it, it’s delightfully obvious. The format is chaotic, but in a charming and high-energy way. She pulls out one piece after another like a sugared-up toddler eager to share the contents of her toybox, switching musical styles almost at random, with no connection between pieces except that she clearly adores them all. The fact that she retains this childlike enthusiasm in spite of her classical education and being old enough to know better make it all the more endearing.
There’s no doubting her piano skills. We might only get brief flashes of her concert pianist past, but they’re enough. If you’re well-versed in classical music and know how complicated her chosen snatches of Beethoven and Chopin are, you’ll appreciate how effortless she makes them sound. If you’re not, it doesn’t matter – you don’t need to know her repertoire to share in Abler’s infectious joy. There’s something in the programme for just about every possible musical taste, from baroque to Abba to a Wild West medley.
The only thing that jars about this show is its time slot. While it makes for a highly entertaining afternoon, it would feel much more at home later in the day. As an evening show it would be a fantastic mood-setter for a raucous night out, or it could be even better as a late night event, a perfect place to sing along, wave the feathers Abler supplies and shake your sequins. Putting it on at 15.45 feels like cramping the show’s style, rather than letting it spread its sparkly scarlet wings and be the high-camp treat it should be.