An Evening with Richard Michael and Family

Scotsman Richard Michael leads his talented family on piano with his daughters Hilary Michael on violin and saxophone, Joanna Duncan on violin and xylophone, and nephew Paul Michael on bass. The performance incorporates an eclectic variety of genres and interests; jazz, blues, Scottish folk and baroque, making for an imaginative, entertaining blend.

A show that is an inspiring, charming and great fun way to spend an evening.

The show includes pieces from contemporary South African jazz composer Abdullah Ibrahim. As well as a fun arrangement of Come Fly with Me, an unlikely Gershwin-Scottish folk medley and a joyous jazz-folk inspired Mhairi's Other Wedding. Richard's folk traditionalist father once said that his son “couldn't bear to leave anything alone,” and this is evident tonight, as some swinging be-bop is put into the traditional “dreary” hymn the Old Hundredth. Only Hilary playing a Bach solo on violin is left reverently alone and this allows another tone into the show. A selection from Purcell's Timon of Athens works brilliantly with the piano and bass, with the connection between classical and jazz adding gravity and tension to the retained solemnity.

Musically they're very skilled, working with their own well-crafted arrangements and those of others. They go well together with a great sense of camaraderie both musically and verbally. Their instruments answer each other's phrases with ease and precision, while Richard Michael dispenses dubious dad-jokes and parental anecdotes to his daughters' cringing dismay. He and Hilary run jazz workshops, and the desire to educate is clear as arrangements and influences are elucidated – but never to the point of soul-destroying dissection. His claim that anyone can play jazz, however, doesn't detract from the casually expert talent presented on-stage.

Richard Michael is full of cheesy grins and rollicking “yeeeahs” during his solos, as his fingers flick across the piano in a swirling blur. You get the palpable sense of his passion for jazz, his love and vitality performing and his desire to entertain and inform. You don't quite get the same sense of enjoyment and fun from the other members on stage, and it seems a little more like work for them. The sheet music also presents a barrier between the stage and spectator.

The show is hindered by its venue: seated in St Mark's incense-infused pews there's an atmosphere of solemn and sober reverence at odds with the sense of fun and creativity conjured on-stage. If your attention and focus is a bit worn down by the Fringe by now, you might be a little frustrated by the lack of a bar and the length of the show (ending up at an hour and 45 minutes including an interval). The performers, however, can hardly be blamed for that, and they triumph to provide a show that is an inspiring, charming and great fun way to spend an evening.

Reviews by Alice Quine

Underbelly’s Circus Hub on the Meadows

BARBU Electro Trad Cabaret

Sweet Grassmarket

Nell Gwyn: An Epilogue

C venues - C nova

The Furies

Assembly George Square Theatre

Charlie Baker: Just the One

Pleasance Courtyard

Harriet Kemsley: Puppy Fat


Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now



The Blurb

Returning to the Fringe after performances in 2011/12 of The Great American Songbook, Richard Michael (piano) Hilary Michael (violin and sax) Paul Michael (bass) and Joanna Duncan (violin) present an evening of swinging jazz, Scots fiddle and the occasional blues and baroque tune. All four musicians work in a variety of musical settings and are guaranteed to serve up a memorable, entertaining performance. ‘When you’ve got musicians at the top of their game and when they are so evidently having great fun creating music, you’ve got the recipe for perfect entertainment’. (Tim Wilcock)

Most Popular See More

Frozen the Musical

From £36.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Lion King

From £46.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Tina - The Tina Turner Musical

From £12.00

More Info

Find Tickets


From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Phantom of the Opera

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mamma Mia!

From £15.00

More Info

Find Tickets