Award-winning pianist and composer Jan Preston will premiere her new work, a musical score for the 1927 silent comedy The Kid Stakes at the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia’s (NFSA) on Friday 19 June.
“I’m greatly looking forward to performing in Canberra my original score for this iconic Australian film, The Kid Stakes, particularly with the new digital print created by the NFSA,” says Preston.
Performing on the NFSA’s grand piano, Jan Preston will be joined on the night by percussionist Mike Pullman. Jan and Mike have received an overwhelmingly positive response from audiences around Australasia with this work – which has been performed at Woodford Folk Festival, Adelaide Fringe Festival, and the Art Deco Festival in Napier, New Zealand. This will be the Canberra premiere of Preston’s score for The Kid Stakes.
The Kid Stakes is a silent black-and-white comedy, adapted from Syd Nicholl’s Fatty Finn comic strip and directed by Tal Ordell. Film critic Paul Byrnes says it is “one of the greatest comedies of the silent era, although it was largely dismissed at the time as simply a children’s film”.
Nicholls himself can be seen in the film’s opening moments sketching an image of Fatty which comes to life. Ordell’s son ‘Pop’ is charming as Fatty Finn in what remains a very impressive silent-era Australian film.
“I fell in love with The Kid Stakes the first time I saw it and have never tired of performing to it,” said Preston.
“I see something different each time and Pop Ordell’s performance of Fatty Finn is utterly delightful. In order for the music to match the comedy of the film, I avoided dark or complicated harmonies, and used authentic pianistic styles of the time including ragtime and boogie.”
Jan Preston and The Kid Stakes
Arc Cinema – National Film and Sound Archive of Australia, Canberra
Performance: Friday 19 June 2015 – 7.00pm
Information and Bookings: www.nfsa.gov.au
Image: Jan Preston