BWW Reviews: HANDS SOLO: PIANOMAN at ACT Elicits Jazzy Charm

BWW Reviews: HANDS SOLO: PIANOMAN at ACT Elicits Jazzy Charm
Victor Janusz at the Piano
Photo credit: Jimmy Malecki

I always get a little worried about the one man, autobiographical shows. All too often they can become self-indulgent therapy sessions as the performer delves into a life that we may or may not care about. Luckily this is not the case with "Hands Solo: Pianoman" currently playing at ACT as Victor Janusz offers up a more self-reflective rather than self-indulgent journey mixed with some wonderfully sweet and jazzy tunes from he and his piano.

But it's still a life from someone we may not be familiar with. It's one thing when a diva like Elaine Stritch does it but what about someone lesser known? Well, the life and times of Janusz has been charmed and varied enough that the telling of his anecdotes never becomes forced or boring plus the flow of the moments interweave so well with each other that the time just drifts by. Janusz goes over a variety of subjects from his time playing at Nordstrom's to his time playing for the President. From his family life as a child of a Polish Father and a Mexican Mother to his life with his partner to now it's more like a friend with a rich past sharing some stories than a show. But the showman is still quite present as he tickles the ivories in his own "jazzy world" sharing songs old, new and original.

And as I said, he's quite the showman as he traverses the realms of funny and sweet to more serious and bittersweet. It's a charming journey with some lovely songs that envelop you like a warm blanket. There's not much more I can say about this one-man show without telling all his anecdotes for him. Let me just say that the show is well worth spending an evening with as is Janusz and all his numbers completely land with his audience. With my three letter rating system I give "Hands Solo: Pianoman" a solid YAY followed up with a sweet little contented sigh as that's what his show leaves you with.

"Hands Solo: Pianoman" performs at ACT through July 20th. For tickets or information contact the ACT box office at 206-292-7676 or visit them online at

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Jay Irwin Born and raised in Seattle, WA, Jay has been a theater geek for years. He attends as many shows as he can around the country and loves taking in new exciting works.

Instituting a new three letter rating system for my reviews for 2014. They'll range from best to worst as WOW (A can’t miss), YAY (Too damn good), MEH+ (Good, with some great things going for it), MEH (Just OK), NAH (You can miss this one) and WTF (I think you can figure out my complex code there).

Jay is also an actor in the local Seattle scene. Follow me on Twitter @SeattleBdwyGeek

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