Edinburgh Festival Fringe music review: Worbey & Farrell’s House Party, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Martin Gray.
The Fringe’s most perfectly paired pianists are back for their fourth year, to entertain lovers of classical and contemporary music with their spin on some favourite tunes.
If you don’t know the duo, Kevin Farrell and Steven Worbey are hugely talented piano men who choose to share one keyboard. Their fingers fly over their instrument with remarkable speed, as shown on the big screens attached to their piano-cam.
Fascinating as it is to watch those dexterous digits, it’s difficult not to get swept away by the beauty of the playing. Reveries are nigh guaranteed with the likes of the George Gershwin medley (Fascinating Rhythm, I Got Rhythm and Lady Be Good) and John Williams’s gorgeous theme from sci-fi film AI.
A perfectly pitched presentation of Rachmaninov’s 18th Variation on a Theme by Paganini was followed by Deviations on a Theme by Paganini, the pixieish pair’s witty twist on the classic. Closer to home, bagpipe favourite Highland Cathedral proved a proper crowd-pleaser (as did the many cheesey gags). And an encore of nine popular tunes – including Murder She Wrote and Pokerface – closed the hour with aplomb.
Before that, though, came the most technically difficult offering of the set, Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor rearranged for four hands, one piano. Worbey & Farrell said they were nervous about playing it, but they came through with an intensely powerful performance.
Impressive as that was, my highlight was Piazzolla’s Libertango, a piece so fantastically fiddly no one this side of Strictly’s Vincent and Flavia can actually dance to it. Beautifully Byzantine, Worbey & Farrell’s gorgeous rendition hasn’t yet left me.
For awesome artistry and sheer showmanship, Worbey & Farrell are up with the best of the Festival. Don’t miss them.
Assembly Rooms (Venue 20) Until 30 August / listings
Published in The Scotsman on 19 August 2015
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