I admit it. I have a soft spot for Rocco de Villiers. There are lots of reasons for this. One of them is that he and my late father both hail from Harrismith, Free State.
Rocco de Villiers’ shows are at this stage of his career, fairly predictable. He plays the piano and tells amusing stories of his youth. He sometimes laughs at his own stories when the audience roar with mirth. I find that so endearing. He is not “an entertainer” entertaining an audience. He is a very talented musician sharing intimate moments with “friends and fans”. We trek along from Harrismith to Bloemfontein, Johannesburg, New York and Hong Kong learning how he came to compose certain pieces and why others are special to him.
One of the pieces is written for one hand as he imagines the life of a musician who loses a hand. Another is a tango (hardly 15th century, but we’ll let that one slide) as he discovers St Rocco (Saint Roch or Rocco lived c. 1348 – 15/16 August 1376/79 was a Catholic saint, a confessor whose death is commemorated on 16 August; he is specially invoked against the plague). I wasn’t quite certain how it got to be a tango for two saints and a pregnant woman, but that didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the piece at all.
Rocco is usually very flamboyant, so by comparison he is quite toned down in this production, red jacket with black and white polka dot pants notwithstanding. The red upright piano is part of the simple, effective set, placed against a polka dot background. The piano he is holding in his hand in the photo above is part of the show (although one may want to take what Rocco says about it with a pinch of salt) and I was quite amazed at how he used it.
One of my cousins on my mother’s side of the family and I have recently made contact with one another again through Facebook and he accompanied me to see All About the Piano and he was enchanted with Rocco de Villiers and can’t wait to take someone special to him to see the show because she will love it. Of course she will. We all do. 🙂
All About the Piano is on at the Studio Theatre at Pieter Toerien’s Montecasino Theatre, Fourways until 29 November 2015 and it starts its Cape Town run on 1 December 2015 at the Theatre on the Bay. He will be back at Montecasino Theatre in March/April for a run featuring the hymns of his latest CD, Beautiful Beautiful Hymns.