Thomas Monckton’s The Pianist a Brilliant Hour
New Zealander Thomas Monckton is one of a new generation of mimes, a “luminary”, beginning to “carry the torch in a tradition that brought us Charlie Chaplin and Mr Bean,” according to the Sydney Morning Herald’s Cameron Woodhead who reviews Monckton’s solo show The Pianist performed in Melbourne.
“The Pianist, created with Finnish contemporary circus company Circo Aereo, is a brilliant hour of choreographed hilarity that combines classic pratfalls and improvised puppetry, sight gags and jelly-limbed acrobatics,” Woodhead writes.
“Monckton’s character is a concert pianist preparing to perform. He evidently believes himself the height of suaveness and sophistication, but all events conspire against him to make him look ridiculous: the curtain through which he makes his entrance, the ill-placed chandelier, the piano and its stool, the sheet music, the spotlight, you name it. Everything that can go wrong, does.
“While the format and conceit are classic ones, Monckton’s hijinks are unpredictably inventive and his mime is as skilled as it is disarming. It’s a show full of visual surprises, such as when he uses his knobble-knees to make an impromptu Punch and Judy show, and some sequences verge on circus, with shades of aerial acrobatics and contortionism creating a series of absurd, and thoroughly undignified, scrapes.
“The Pianist is a real smile-maker with the broadest appeal.”
Monckton is professionally trained in acrobatics, juggling, clowning and aerial straps.
He is based in Helsinki.
Monckton takes The Pianist to the Adelaide Fringe Festival in February, ahead of the Hong Kong Arts Festival in March.
Original article by Cameron Woodhead, The Sydney Morning Herald, January 13, 2016.