Words by Emily Underwood
‘Sing us a song, you’re the piano chick!!’
Becky Blake, a legendary pianist with a penchant for punchy jibes about her job, has delivered a show containing hilarious commentary on the ups and downs of being a performer. Having toured internationally for over 20 years, she is well versed in stories that tell of the various encounters a pianist has in an ever-changing environment.
Becky started her show on a hilariously clumsy note, bustling into the venue and snagging her bag on the microphone stand. Immediately the audience could see the earnestness and heart behind this light-hearted character. She had the audience roaring with her definition of a pianist and what it means to be female instead of a male pianist, with a cheeky rendition of ‘piano man’ transformed in glorious lyrical fashion into ‘piano chick’. Oozing effortless glamour, she gave an electrifying rendition of ACDC, followed immediately by burns about people from Burnside and rousing the crowd with a sufficiently bogan version of the Adelaide Crows Theme song. It was obvious that, if there are such things as conventional piano music standards, these were broken with Becky even singing Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance whilst standing on a chair!
As she moved from job to job, the long-suffering but always enthusiastic performer encountered unappreciative, silent guests, had run-ins with flirty managers, and got hit on by many drunk patrons. At each gig she informed the audience of all of her misadventures, all whilst being plied with an endless amount of champagne by the faithful Bar Chick. The audience watched her morale sink as she was ordered to play songs she despised, then snap back again with powerhouse vocals as she defied the audience! Terrible costumes, sickness and random cancellations all pervaded the mishaps at her gigs, but she always came out on top!
The tone of Becky’s character was beautifully whimsical, and the tongue-in-cheek jokes about the profession were playful and honest. Becky was able to poke fun at classic piano songs whilst also privileging the audience with original lyrics from her own talent. Transitioning between mournful renditions to powerful, dynamic ballads and back again, she proved that as a performer and storyteller, she has enormous scope. If you want to see a performance with heart, Becky Blake’s final show is on March 3rd, at La Boheme.
Overall rating: ★★★★