FRINGE 2016: THEATRE – Chopin’s Last Tour – The German Club – 3K

Phillip Aughey performs this one man show about the final days of popular Polish composer Frédéric Chopin. In the lead up to what would be his last public recital, Chopin escapes the drudgery of another night in the company of his Scottish hostess, Jane Stirling, and her guests to hide in his room and decide which pieces to include in his performance. Through this construct, we learn of Chopin’s romantic history and the connections these ladies have with some of his compositions.

Aughey’s informative script paints a sympathetic picture of Chopin as he wallows in self-pity, dreaming of the days when he was surrounded by friends and loved ones and yearning to be reunited with them once again. The blocking is simple and does get rather repetitive as he paces his room, primarily shifting from a sitting position on a single chair, to his piano.

The inclusion of pieces played live on a baby grand lifts the show. Aughey is a stronger pianist than he is an actor and so it is disappointing that the fragments he plays are generally quite short. The final two compositions included, which are longer, are most satisfying and the closing piece, Nocturne No 20 in C Sharp Minor, is undoubtedly the musical highlight of the performance.

This production could do with further development and polishing. However, it is an interesting brief look at the history of the man, his loves, and his compositions.

Kryztoff rating: 3K

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