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.
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
Circus Oz Home
35 Johnston Street
Collingwood , Victoria , 3066