mon 02/10/2023

Novecento, Trafalgar Studios | reviews, news & interviews

Novecento, Trafalgar Studios

Novecento, Trafalgar Studios

This one-man show about a jazz pianist hits all the right notes

Mark Bonnar: A bravura display of technique and dramatic stamina

Offbeat in more than just their rhythms, jazz musicians have always had an affinity to the extraordinary, living lives syncopated against the regular tread of society. Maybe it was the informality of their training, or the influence of brothels, bars and back streets that were their concert halls, but the likes of Buddy Bolden and Django Reinhardt have left a legacy of autobiography every bit as bold and unusual as their music. It is in this legacy that Alessandro Baricco’s fictional pianist Novecento claims his share, in a 90-minute monologue that riffs on the unlikely melody of his life to create a beautifully absurdist fable.

Offbeat in more than just their rhythms, jazz musicians have always had an affinity to the extraordinary, living lives syncopated against the regular tread of society. Maybe it was the informality of their training, or the influence of brothels, bars and back streets that were their concert halls, but the likes of Buddy Bolden and Django Reinhardt have left a legacy of autobiography every bit as bold and unusual as their music. It is in this legacy that Alessandro Baricco’s fictional pianist Novecento claims his share, in a 90-minute monologue that riffs on the unlikely melody of his life to create a beautifully absurdist fable.

The absence of music in this story of a musician does at times feel a little wilful

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