Tag: Edith Piaf

Michaela Burger and Greg Wain are EXPOSING EDITH

Be enraptured

By Jessica Cornish

Exposing Edith has returned for a short season at the beautiful Melba Spiegeltent. This captivating 70-minute cabaret blends a mixture of impersonation and interpretation through 14 songs and monologues to explore the life and lovers of Edith Piaf.

Exposing Edith.JPG

The work stars Michaela Burger as Piaf accompanied by Greg Wain on acoustic guitar, and this duo have created a beautiful theatre piece.

Burger’s vocals were outstanding. Her warm vibrato and vintage French pop sound filled the tent of mirrors as she sang a mixture of French and English songs. And with a little smoke and those mirrors you could even be forgiven for mistaking Ms Burger for the real deal as there is a striking resemblance between the performer and Piaf, with her dark braided hair and petite stature.

Wain was the perfect addition to accompany Ms Burger: he had a gentle stage presence and seamlessly incorporated some interesting chord colourings and strum patterns into the songs throughout the evening. The music was an utter joy to listen to throughout the night, and the pair even added their own flair to the traditional songs in cleverly playing around with the texture of sounds by incorporating loop pedals, echo and delay in to the performance.

Of course “La Vie En Rose” and “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien” were powerful moments within the show and instantly recognisable to all audience members. However, don’t presume every song will be an Edith classic: for example, the performers open the show with a one-minute musical creation attempting to summarise large chunks of the performer’s life.

The lighting rig and set were minimalistic, and props were only a microphone, chair and a black feather boa. The performance space thus beautifully mirrored traditional performances from Edith herself, where one would find a vast stage with only the 4-foot-something French icon encased in a spotlight.

Exposing Edith is an excellent starting point for a new generation of music lovers to be exposed to the incredible life and songs of Edith Piaf, although potentially a little underwhelming to those more die-hard fans who already have a solid knowledge of the lady. However, the songstress’ story is cleverly told from the revealing perspectives of both the character and Ms Burger, and the music? It’s just stunning.

Wednesday, 18 May – 7:00pm
Thursday, 19 May – 7:00pm
Friday, 20 May – 7:00pm
Saturday, 21 May – 7:00pm

Adult: $35
Concession: $30
Web: trybooking.com

Circus Oz Home
35 Johnston Street
Collingwood , Victoria , 3066

REVIEW: April Albert is DIE KNEF

A tribute to a legend misses the triumph

By Adam Tonking

Die Knef, a cabaret written and performed by April Albert, traces the life of Hildegard Knef, a chanteuse whose survival of World War II coloured the rest of her career as a performer, but never held her back from her ambition.

Albert’s show is a brief insight into a relatively unknown figure in Australia, and showcases songs in a language that is too seldom celebrated outside of opera here.

Hildegard Knef, referred to by Albert as “the Edith Piaf of Germany”, was an actress and singer who enjoyed a long career spanning from the 1940s through to the 1970s. With Albert as Knef, Die Knef is at its most simple the story of one woman’s life, featuring the songs that made her famous.

But Albert presents it as a kind of nostalgia concert from a faded artiste you can imagine touring RSLs and pokies venues, and so Knef comes onstage with all of the pizzazz and charisma of a star, but gets distracted reminiscing about the many tragedies of her life.

Watching Knef unravel under the weight of her memories makes for fascinating viewing.

I had thought that a show containing entirely foreign language songs might present a challenge, but the audience quickly accepted the change and Albert seemed most comfortable when singing or speaking in German.

Although her commitment to the character is admirable, she rarely seemed to connect with the unimaginable horrors that Knef describes experiencing during World War II.

The script appears meticulously researched, peppered with pithy quotes for which Knef was well-known, but then focuses too heavily on these bad times, not on the successes that made her so famous and hence a character worth getting to know.

April Albert’s Die Knef was on at The Butterfly Club in South Melbourne from the 1st till the 4th of December at 7pm

For details of other upcoming shows, visit www.thebutterflyclub.com.

Review: ANA-LUCIA AND THE BARON (Episode One)

Bring on Episode Two!

By Bradley Storer

Lisa Nightingale returned with one final performance of her sell-out show, Ana-Lucia and the Baron: Episode One, previously seen at The Butterfly Club and brought back as part of the Butterfly @ Trades programme last night. Entering the stage to rapturous applause, Lisa began with an eerie Sondheim-style ode to her most treasured possessions: her precious diamonds (which Ana-Lucia repeatedly tells us she most certainly did not steal from the Baron!). From start to finish, the aptly-named Nightingale held the audience in the palm of her hand.

Playing the deliciously ditzy Frenchwoman Ana-Lucia, Nightingale is shamelessly entertaining in the best possible sense. Ana-Lucia is a saucy and cunning gold-digger in the mould of Lorelei Lee from Gentleman Prefer Blondes, a comparison highlighted by Ana-Lucia’s rendition of the classic ‘Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend’ (here hilariously chained onto Travie McCoy’s ‘Billionaire). Her dubious French origin later provides the basis for a side-splitting Edith Piaf send-up which skewers every French stereotype imaginable. The enormously self-dramatizing heroine returns home while recovering from amnesia brought about by a mysterious accident – in hot pursuit is the dreaded Baron, who may or may not be her former lover. Ana-Lucia is aided during her moments of lapse by her partner-in-crime, Juan Pablo (pianist Trevor Jones) who chimes in at the appropriate moment to trigger flashbacks and lost memories.

Nightingale is a strong singer, her voice ably handling a range of songs from Cole Porter to Lady Gaga. Jones proves an appealing comic partner to her brassy but forgetful persona. Nightingale’s occasional memory lapses (not all of them scripted, I think) were quickly integrated into the comic exchanges between the two players, actually making complete sense in the context of the amnesiac character.

The real strength of the show was Ana-Lucia’s interactions with the audience, cast as the guests at Ana-Lucia’s ‘welcome home’ party. Nightingale engaged the audience in treasure hunts, party games and sing-alongs to great comic effect. She even managed to make a running gag of the continuous stream of late-comers entering the show, who were then forced to come to the front of the stage to receive party bags and hats. With such a strong command of her audience, it’s no wonder this show has sold out three previous seasons.

However, this strength also becomes a weakness at points – beginning with a series of giggle-inducing plot twists, the story meanders towards the middle of the show as the emphasis shifts to audience participation. In particular the inclusion of a Beyonce number, however funny and charmingly performed, seems unnecessary and slows down the action.

This quickly changes towards the finale of the show, ending on a climatic cliff-hanger which promises interesting revelations for Episode Two.

Ana-Lucia and the Baron (Episode One)

The New Ballroom, Trades Hall

Thur Sept 29, 7:30pm