REVIEW: Piaf! The Show – Theatre Royal, Glasgow

Celebrating the centenary of Edith Piaf’s birth, and partly inspired by the 2007 Oscar-winning La Vie En Rose, Anne Carrere’s Piaf! The Show is the shining star of the 2016 Celtic Connections festival partnership with France.

From La Môme Piaf under a streetlamp in Montmartre, up the steps of the Sacré Cœur, through the seedy clubs of Pigalle to Carnegie Hall, Carrere takes us on a musical journey through the life of the legendary French chanteuse.

There are Piaf impersonators a-plenty but this is so much more than that, Carrere manages to embody not only the indomitable spirit of the tragic legend but her unique sound too. The legendary vibrato is captured with aplomb as is the sheer energy and emotion of the Little Sparrow (if delivered with a little more polish and less rawness than the original). Accompanied by a four-piece band comprising accordionist, pianist, bassist and percussionist, this finely tuned show is a true celebration of the French chanson, and all the familiar hits are here: L’Hymne à L’Amour, Milord, La Vie en Rose and the legendary Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien.

Back-projected, previously unseen photographs from the life of Piaf, a streetlamp, a park bench, a bar and cafe tables provide the requisite background atmosphere, but the music alone is enough to thoroughly entertain. Carrere has found a winning formula here, minimum fuss, maximum attention to the music, and the result – a hair-on-the-back-of-the-neck-raising night’s entertainment.

Runs until 28 January 2016 | Image: Alain Biguet

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