Christine Bovill’s PIAF
The Famous Spiegeltent, George Street
20:30, Aug 8th-11th & 21st-25th
THE OFFER is enticing – an evening of Edith Piaf’s music in The Famous Spiegeltent on George Street. What is delivered in a fantastic venue, are astounding vocal and musical performances that evoke the tragic French singer’s life in an almost hyper-real way.
The choice of songs comes accompanied by brief yet insightful commentary from Christine Bovill, drawing the audience towards her with charisma and gentle humour. When the mood is sombre, as Piaf’s music can often make it, there’s a regular turn to more uplifting and life-affirming melodies. “This show was almost sponsored by Prozac,” jokes Bovill, adding that after her shows, people apparently turn to Leonard Cohen’s music to cheer themselves up. But the darkness and pain in the music is a central part of its power, and even the more tragic songs still evoke a warm and appreciative response from the full house. The addition of the violin to this year’s accompaniment, along with accomplished piano-playing, gives extra depth and richer texture to many familiar tunes – and for some numbers, appropriately, the strings are silent and it’s just the voice and the piano.
As the show builds towards its climax, an elegiac mood of almost happy melancholy seems to settle across the famous tent. If you closed your eyes for a moment and just listened to that soul-stirring, fantastic voice, you could believe you had witnessed a resurrection. Behold – Edith Piaf. In this mirrored, sparkling place, the power, angst, pathos and emotion of her music is palpable – Piaf is reborn through Bovill. The genuine love and nurturing, careful attention to detail in the arrangements and her vocal phrasing is just dazzling.
This is achingly gorgeous. Don’t miss the chance to see Christine in this most intimate and atmospheric venue. I fully expect this show, like her previous years’ performances, will sell out completely. Do it now.
***** 5 stars