A keyboard made for two

A keyboard made for two

A keyboard made for two

First published in Music

Following a sell-out season at the Edinburgh Fringe 2013, one of the world’s most entertaining and unique piano acts are heading to Swindon.

Revolutionary in their treatment of the traditional piano duet, Steven Worbey and Kevin Farrell push the boundaries of the instrument, in every musical style – classical, popular and contemporary.

They can imitate the tones of a Spanish guitar, resound with their very own Paganini Variations or pulsate with the passions of the masters of jazz. We had a chat with them...

Q How did you come up with the idea of playing four hands one piano?

We were friends at the Royal College of Music and had separate careers after graduating. We would meet up once or twice a year and then one afternoon we accidentally locked ourselves in Steven’s flat and ended up drinking wine and getting quite drunk.

We sat at the piano and discovered that we had a similar style, improvised well together and made each other laugh a lot.

One of the main differences about out act is that we are very close and get on very well off stage as well as on. A lot of comedy comes from a good place and there’s no victim – except perhaps the piano!

Q What’s the best thing about doing this for a living?

The reaction from the audience. Whether it be a gasp or a laugh.

We’ve also travelled to around 150 countries worldwide so have seen some pretty amazing places. We now get respect in a way we never got when we played background music in restaurants or accompanying children’s ballet lessons.

Q It’s often difficult to categorise your act – is this a problem?

It has always been difficult to categorise. People always want to pigeon hole or compare you to others.

We’ve been likened to the inimitable Victor Borge and as much as we adore his work, he never really played pieces in full or even for more than a minute come to that.

We like to think we are a totally original act. Playing the piano is generally a solitary occupation. We think people like our act because it’s all about friendship.

Q What is your proudest moment in your career to date?

Our debut at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. We didn’t know how it was going to go but the reaction was huge. We felt like a surge of electricity was going through us for weeks after.

Proudest moments usually happen after achieving something that you are apprehensive about. Sometimes when the audience are showing their appreciation after they’ve enjoyed a show it can be overwhelming and rather emotional. We went over to Germany in May and hadn’t a clue how they were going to receive us but afterwards they kept applauding for about five minutes. We didn’t know what to do whether to cry or laugh. Wonderful though.

l Worbey and Farrell will be at Swindon Arts Centre at 8pm on September 12. For tickets, which are £14, call 01793 524481 or visit www.swindontheatres.co.uk.

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