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2 PIANOS 4 HANDS (article first published : 2001-06-29)

In 2 Pianos 4 Hands, playing on the Fringe of the Standard Bank National Arts Festival, Kevin Feather and Tobie Cronjé offer an amusing chronicle of two music students from the age of 8 up to 48.

We see their prowess from the early days of chromatic scales, the battle with time signatures and phrasing, long-suffering music teachers and nagging parents who often resort to bribes to make them continue practising. Tobie Cronje always astounds me at his agility and the way those long, long legs can bend. His torso curls up into a small ball as he plays out a scene where the young boy can’t stand his father’s barrage of demands.

There’s a fun moment when we see the two youngsters desperately practising for a competition and it turns into schoolboy antics at the piano while in another they get fed up with the classics and break out into pop. The one boy turns into a cocky student who tries to enter a Conservatoire but is told he’s lazy and arrogant and won’t make it. The other tries to enter a jazz establishment but is told his classicism is getting in the way. In both cases, they are told that there are 13 year-olds far better and more deserving than they are.

Eventually, aged 48 they listen to a recording of a maestro and eventually agree that while they may not be the best pianists in the world, or the city … they’re the best in the neighbourhood. They finish, in tailcoats, performing the Bach D Minor Concerto. Ask for the encores and you’re liable to get Jamaican Rumba by Arthur Benjamin and Scott Joplin’s Maple Rum.

2 Pianos 4 Hands is running at St Aidan’s.




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