Beanstalk_Seesaw-Magazine_90hx970wmm.jpg
Reviews/Cabaret/Fringe World Festival

Blues and bonhomie

1 February 2019

Fringe World review: Lucky Oceans and Jessie Gordon Present: The Piano Has Been Drinking ⋅
De Parel Spiegeltent, 31 January ⋅
Review by Robert Housley ⋅

The spiegeltent and a billowing smoke machine established the blues club vibe and bonhomie oozed from the stage as four accomplished musicians comfortable in their own skins met for a night of the blues. They included pedal steel guitarist and Grammy award-winning legend Lucky Oceans, vocalist/MC Jessie Gordon, vocalist/ guitarist Bill Lawrie, and keyboardist extraordinaire Paul Gioia.

The appropriation of a Tom Waits staple for both the show title and its opening number – replaced with irreverent lyrics from the band – set the scene for a night of dusky blues and a smidgen of gospel. Most of the song list came from the early part of the 20th Century such as Bessie Smith’s suggestive 1930s hit I Need a Little Sugar in My Bowl, gospel track Shine on Me and the ageless classic St. James Infirmary.

Lawrie’s gravelly vocals epitomised blues authenticity; his bare feet augmenting his connection to the earth. Gordon’s delicate vocal delivery had plenty of grunt and range when required and her literal show stopper is worth the price of the ticket alone. Oceans and Gioia had their moments of exceptional musicianship each with solos bursting from behind the two vocal leads.

If sitting around with a group of friends sharing good music and banter is the kind of experience you enjoy then this Fringe show will suit you to a tee.

The Piano Has Been Drinking continues until February 3.

Pictured Top: Lucky Oceans on pedal steel guitar

Like what you’re reading? Buy us a coffee.

Author —
Robert Housley

Robert Housley returns to arts journalism following a 20-year hiatus managing performing arts venues. He was the last arts editor of Perth’s Daily News and has worked as a journalist in London, Cape Town and Amsterdam. Robert’s favourite item of playground equipment is the swing and its enduring challenge: how high can you go?

Past Articles

  • The very model of a man

    Pep talks from alpha males and drills with the coach are all part of the show in Team of the Decades, as Robert Housley finds out.

  • A dozen cheeky answers

    Robert Housley finds much to tantalise in the sexy circus show, How Much Do You Love Me?

Read Next

  • A woman stands at a podim, her arms posed as if asking a question. She has short dark curly hair and wears bright pink earrings and a bright pink top under a black sleeveless jacket. Stories that mustn’t remain untold
    Reviews

    Stories that mustn’t remain untold

    20 January 2021

    The righteous anger of earlier productions of The Vagina Monologues has strengthened and deepened, Jan Hallam finds, and the themes of women’s oppression and fear are still disappointingly relevant.

    Reading time • 4 minutesFringe World Festival
  • A man sits on stage with palm to forehead Love story’s a stand-up triumph
    Reviews

    Love story’s a stand-up triumph

    19 January 2021

    And you thought your wedding was chaos? Dr Ahmed Gets Hitched mines a rich vein of intelligent comedy, says David Zampatti.

    Reading time • 4 minutesFringe World Festival
  • a man spins plates on sticks and another man runs by with plates spilling everywhere All the tricks in the book
    Reviews

    All the tricks in the book

    19 January 2021

    It’s high-energy family fun, even if it doesn’t quite come up to superlatives, Rosalind Appleby says of Best Show Ever.

    Reading time • 3 minutesFringe World Festival

Cleaver Street Studio

Cleaver Street Studio

Cleaver Street Studio