Skip to content


The Silent Movie Experience
Published on Tuesday, 20 April 2010

And now, for something completely different.  If you’ve never seen a silent movie with live accompaniment before, you’ve been missing out on a treat; it’s a quaint and curious experience, yes, but one that carries far more than mere retro charm.

David Watts

This is, after all, the way the film was meant to be seen.  A well-performed score adds a genuine sense of excitement or humour, which the trite plinkety-plink soundtrack so beloved of TV reconstructions simply can’t convey.  And it’s astonishing to remember that back in the twenties, every single cinema had a pianist or organist who improvised the music for every single film – a skill that’s almost entirely lost today.

But not quite lost.  For this hour-long taster, musician David Watts is lining up a high-energy comedy showreel built around classics from the age of Buster Keaton.  He’ll be supplying the sound on the honky-tonk piano, augmented by a one-man percussion set – and, of course, his very own sound effects.  It should make an entertaining, accessible introduction to the genre, and its matinee scheduling will appeal to families too.

We have to admit we’ve never seen Watts perform, but on paper he certainly ticks all the boxes: experienced in the West End, he’s worked with Andrew Lloyd Webber and has several solo albums to his name.  And with tickets just £7 for adults, £5 for children, it’s surely worth taking a chance on something new.  Or do we mean something old?  Try it for yourself, either way.

<< Pluck - The Titanic Show   The Lady Boys of Bangkok >>


These are archived reviews of shows from Brighton 2010.  We keep our archives online as a courtesy to performers, and for readers who'd like to research previous years' reviews.