Review: Piano Lessons by Anna Goldsworthy

Anna Goldsworthy, the multi-award winning Australian concert pianist, is unforgiving in her piano playing and storytelling.

Anna Goldsworthy, the multi-award winning Australian concert pianist, is unforgiving in her piano playing and storytelling. And as she weaves through epic musical pieces by Chopin and Beethoven, her constricted forearms are extensions of her memoir prose, lighting up both the keys and the stage of the Space Theatre on Saturday afternoon.

A rich adaptation of Goldsworthy’s philosophical relationship with music and piano teacher Eleonora Sivan, Piano Lessons is more than a scripted reenactment of the student and teacher’s time together. It is a raw anecdotal selection of moments which comment on music’s ability to transcend time, and the selfless requirement of an artist to respect its form. Goldsworthy’s novel/memoir-turned-play leads us through to her eventual mastery of the keys, and her growing appreciation for past masters.

Through eloquent expression and dramatic technique, Goldsworthy chronologically assembles her success. The chemistry between Sivan and her is so authentic that their chummy exchanges in the intimate, tea-lit theatre, invite us into the practice room of teacher and pupil.

The struggles of her talent and identity were laid bare on her sheet stand, and we watched on, expecting nothing but magic.

4 stars

Piano Lessons continues at the Space Theatre until June 9.

Words by Angela Skujins

Adelaide In-depth

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