Acclaimed concert pianists Steven Worbey and Kevin Farrell promise a performance with a difference as they dazzle on the ivories in Rhapsody at Newark’s Palace Theatre.
The concert — on Friday, May 12 — features two men on one piano, and plenty of comedy along the way.
It features a wide variety of music, from George Gershwin’s Rhapsody In Blue to Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody.
One half of the duo, Kevin Farrell, is originally from Bingham.
“We are on a mission to cheer-up classical concerts so there is plenty of comedy,” he said.
“It is immense fun right to the end. We love this show. It is very family friendly.”
The duo’s collaboration started in 2003 and they have since performed in more than 150 countries and achieved millions of hits on YouTube with their blend of comedy and barnstorming piano playing.
“It has been quite an adventure to say we got together over an evening where we got horribly drunk on wine. We came away with a whole new career,” said Kevin.
Before that, Steven was doing voiceovers for cartoons and Kevin, a former Toot Hill School pupil, was a musical director and doing film work — “unfortunately, a lot of turkeys.”
After two or three bottles of Chardonnay their career took a completely different path.
“It is hard work but I love it. We always say we are lucky to be doing what we do,” Kevin said.
The pair use their talents to push the boundary of the instrument, using it in their own unique way to capture the sound of a full symphony orchestra.
A camera films the piano-playing action and beams it on to a big screen so everyone in the audience can see what is happening.
Each piece is painstakingly put together.
“Rhapsody In Blue, for example, took about 1½ years to do because the piece is so complicated with the orchestral part and the piano solos and we do it all, similarly Bohemian Rhapsody,” Kevin said.
“It is always good at the end of the show when people say they can hear all the parts. We often have people tell us it was the best show they have ever seen.”
Attempts are often made to copy their act, but few succeed.
“We play as one. We are so in tune with each other that others just can’t seem to get right,” said Kevin.
On a serious note, a quarter of the proceeds of ticket and merchandise sales from the Palace concert will go to Cancer Research — a cause close to both performers’ hearts as both have lost a parent to the disease.
Tickets are available from the Palace Theatre box office.