LONDON INTERNATIONAL MIME FESTIVAL 2015
Thomas Monckton’s The Pianist is, for the London International Mime Festival, a fairly traditional act: a solo mime piece, revolving around the central conceit of a concert pianist encountering an avalanche of obstacles preventing him from getting to play.
First he can’t get through the curtain – next he can’t open the piano – then one of the legs falls off… An entire hour of entertainment is built out of this cycle of calamities – and, amazingly, it rarely flags.
Monckton is both highly capable (he trained at Lecoq) and very likeable. His character creation is a fusion of feral and louche – a bit like the love child of Charlie Chuck and Peter Sellers. The highlights are the tangents, when the sense of play is strongest: for instance when, entangled in a dustsheet, Monckton mimes a vignette with his protruding knees.
Excluding a sequence at the end, during which the piano starts belching flowers and smoke, The Pianist all feels quite safe. And yet it’s hard not to be seduced by a performance this engaging, innocent and fun.