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'Piano Heist' begins Maritime tour in Saint John, N.B.


Nico Rhodes and Patrick Courtin have been best friends since kindergarten and together the duo aims to get their favourite classical instrument the respect it deserves with their theatre show 'Piano Heist.'

“We are playing off a little bit of the natural rivalry that exists between piano and particularly the guitar,” says Courtin. “We are pushing that a little bit for comedic purposes and making it out to be ‘the piano has to reign supreme’ almost like a divine quest sort of thing.”

“We’re just having fun with that idea of we are the dorky piano players, which we are, and just exaggerating that to the maximum effect,” says Rhodes, who also created the show.

The duo begins a short tour through the Maritimes on Wednesday in Saint John, N.B., at the Imperial Theatre, marking the first time the British Columbia natives have performed this show outside of their home province. The shows are about two hours in length with an intermission, featuring music spanning over 300 years from Beethoven and Bach to Queen and Elton John.

But this show isn’t just another concert.

“Expect a lot of shenanigans,” says Rhodes, noting the duo works comedy, storytelling, history, and a little bit of tension into the program. “Expect to probably encounter some music your very familiar with, as we’re definitely not trying to reinvent the wheel here.”

“We are looking to play music people love,” he continues. “So if you’re a classical fan you’re going to find classical music in the show that you love, and if you’re a pop music fan you’re going to find some of that. But also expect the unexpected.”

Those who attend the show won’t just hear the traditional piano. The duo play a variety of piano like instruments during the performance, including a personal favourite for Rhodes.

“We get to play keytars, which are like keyboards that you hold and rock out on like a guitar,” smiles Rhodes. “The fact that we basically get to shred on these keytars for like five minutes, there is something deeply satisfying about just like bending the notes and rocking out and people are just like that’s a keyboard? And we go yes, yes it is.”

“We really revel in the nerdy-ness of what we are doing,” chimes in Courtin with a smile.

‘Piano Heist’ will have multiple shows in Saint John Wednesday. The first will be a one hour show at 10 a.m. for younger school audiences, while the final show will be at 2 p.m. All shows in Saint John are free of charge.

“I guarantee people are going to have a good time, but at least this way people don’t have to stress about it,” Rhodes says, referring to residents not having to worry about opening their wallets for the show. “This is unique to this performance. We are really happy to see that as we are really advocates for building more community and building more artistic base in other cities so this is a cool project.”

With this trip marking the pair’s first trip out of their home province for the show, Courtin says it’s only the beginning.

“A big next step for us is we are both francophones, and we are eventually going to translate the show to French,” says Courtin. “It’s on the docket of things to do so we hope to come back (to New Brunswick) and do the show in French as well.”

The B.C. pair will travel to Summerside, P.E.I., for a show Thursday night. ‘Piano Heist’ will then take its show to Nova Scotia for a pair of stops. The first will be in Chester, N.S., on Friday night, before wrapping up their Maritime swing Saturday in Annapolis Royal, N.S.

Ticket information can be found on ‘Piano Heist’ website.

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