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Banquet Room, Adelaide Festival Centre, Sun 14 Jun
Exposing Edith is a collaboration between Michaela Burger and Greg Wain that explores the life, loves and music of French singing sensation, Edith Piaf. Directed by Shona Benson, this show is an intimate and passionate rendering of the woman and the persona which drove some of music’s most iconic tunes.
Michaela absolutely channels Piaf’s energy from the very beginning, her voice and mannerisms impeccably French as one would expect. After a super-fast 60-second account of Piaf’s early years, Michaela begins the story on the Champs Elysee where Piaf is ‘discovered’ busking in her twenties. What follows is a series of songs marking the various stages of her career, interspersed with insights from Piaf and a range of other characters all beautifully acted by Michaela herself. These moments were alternately arresting and touching as Burger and Wain seek to ‘expose’ their muse rather than paint a picture tainted with those rose-coloured glasses.
The hour long show was well balanced in terms of providing a strong narrative thread yet still allowing for a large song list that included Piaf’s first hit, Mon Lègionairre. Other songs swiftly followed including her signature song La Vie En Rose. Predictably, the greatest response was evoked when Michaela sang Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien in a spine-tingling performance that captured the very essence of Piaf’s formidable talent. A beautiful duet with Wain (as Piaf’s last husband Theo Saparo), A quoi ḉa sert l’amour, was a perfect and fitting conclusion to a show dedicated to honouring the life and loves of this musical icon.
The strong audience response demanded an encore and were treated to Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien one last time. Overall, Exposing Edith is a beautifully written and musically sumptuous experience that was simply sensational.
Rosie van Heerde
Image courtesy of Matt Shannon