David Scheel’s brilliant blend of piano and comedy

David Scheel.

David Scheel.

TOWN HALL audiences are in for a real treat next weekend when feted Australian entertainer David Scheel brings his widely-acclaimed show Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only The Piano Player to the venue for one night only.

A brilliant mix of the classics, send-ups of the classics, and topical/social satire, Don’t Shoot Me... has already been a smash hit on London’s West End and at three consecutive Edinburgh festivals.

Still going strong some 15 years after its debut, and continuously updated with new material, Don’t Shoot Me... features, among other things, a piece by Andrew Lloyd Webber and a piece by Bach, played at the same time, one with the right hand, the other with the left; a popular folk tune played in the styles of Mozart, Rachmaninoff, and a blues, comedy routines on anything from corporate sponsorship to supermarket culture, and, David’s comedy classic, his translation of the lyrics of ‘Waltzing Matilda’.

Scheel also tells some hilarious stories of bad pianos he has had to play, and reveals the eccentricities of some of the greatest figures in music, from Sir Thomas Beecham to Leonard Bernstein. In between all of this, he will deliver the real classics, or some of his own highly lyrical compositions, reminding the audience of his true quality as a serious pianist.

Music was pretty much in Scheel’s genes from day one, as he himself explains:

“My father was an orchestral conductor who emigrated to Australia after the war. He was an accompanist for Gracie Fields and also for Rudolph Nureyev and Margo Fonteyn. In Australia he had his own orchestra and as a kid I remember how he we used to have all these weird and wonderful characters visiting the house at my dad’s behest.”

Despite his solid musical grounding, Scheel initially started working as an actor. He moved to Britain where his work ranged across a broad spectrum, from pantomimes with the likes of Norman Wisdom, to work with the National Theatre, TV series such as Bergerac, plus many TV and radio appearances, principally for the BBC.

However, it was when David went solo, combining comedy with classical music, that his career really took off. “I was mainly working as a comedy actor at the start,” he recalls. “I was always quite good with voices and accents, and so on, and friends kept suggesting I should try doing a solo show. So I did and I incorporated music into it and it worked really well, so that’s what I’ve been doing ever since.”

Scheel points out that Don’t Shoot Me... isn’t geared just toward classical music buffs.

“The nature of the show is such that it doesn’t require any knowledge of classical music at all by the audience,” he says. “Certainly there is plenty in it that will appeal to fans of classical music but I think anyone who comes along will find a lot to enjoy in it.”

Remarkably this will be Scheel’s first time performing in Ireland.

“I’ve never even set foot in Ireland before - even though I lived for years in Britain!” he exclaims. “Actually, Ireland will be the 15th country I have performed Don’t Shoot Me... in and I’m really looking forward to playing there.”

No doubt Galway audiences can look forward to the occasion just as keenly.

Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only The Piano Player is at the Town Hall on Sunday May 24 at 8pm. Tickets are €20/16 from 091 - 569777.

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