Last night Edinburgh Fringe favourite Kieran Hodgson brought his much-acclaimed one-man show Maestro back to the city where he graduated and rejected a much more sensible career. He started his chosen path several years ago with the Oxford Revue, performing at the Oxford Playhouse, and then touring a collection of sketches called Kieran and The Joes, before going solo. A subsequent show, Lance, was particularly successful, selling out on a nationwide tour and for a short run in the West End.
Despite being just the one-man, in Maestro Kieran is all the significant characters from his sentimental education, played with a winning charm. After an unnecessary fanfare, he enters as the 11 year old Kieran in a white shirt and school tie, scraping his violin and talking to Mr Davies, his music teacher of all those years ago. He affirms his dislike of rappers and love of Mahler and determines to use the inspiration of the latter's epic music to try to write his own symphony. We see him growing up and going to university, living in a student flat, travelling, and falling in and out of love. Each of the characters he conjures up is cleverly distinguished by body language and an accent, even though many have a distinctly Brummie accent. Mahler makes an appearance, as does David Tennant, a Kieran Hodgson look-alike if there ever was one. He tries to use his experiences with the opposite and the same sex to create meaningful musical expression, which is not as easy as he thinks, but for the audience's benefit it's a very funny journey through the movements of his proto-symphony. His writing is beautifully crafted, witty, and very tight and with timing wrought of many performances, like the Marx Brothers, whose best films were honed on the road for months before committing to celluloid. It only lasts an hour but Maestro is a blissfully funny hour combining classical music, teenage love, and comedy in a delightful mix. Comments from my musical friends in the audience were all very positive as we left.
Try and catch it if you can. Maestro continues its tour around the country until 28th May.