Fringe review: The Sparrow and the Mouse

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I’m familiar with the music of Edith Piaf, the diminutive, heart-rending French songstress who rocketed to international fame after a long apprenticeship singing in the streets of Paris. And as a former street performer myself, I have always felt a kinship with anyone who has ever endeavored to make a living by passing the hat after an impromptu sidewalk presentation. But I didn’t know that the little sparrow had a half-sister who sang with her.

Thanks to Melanie Gall, a classically trained Canadian singer, I now know about Simone Berteaut, Piaf’s lifelong companion, sister and friend. In The Sparrow and the Mouse,  Gall evokes the pair’s early years together, eking out a vagabond existence dans les rues de Paris. It’s a touching tale and it gives Gall the opportunity to regale us with gems from the Piaf songbook.

Gall is not a brilliant actress, and her script may be a little thin, but ooh la la, mon Dieu, can the girl sing! Gall’s vibrant soprano may lack Piaf’s quiver, but she knows how to shape and sell a tune for maximum effect. Her one-woman show is a delightful musical divertissement and I’m happy to have seen it. Or as Piaf might have said: “Je ne regrette rien!” -- Al Krulick

The Sparrow and the Mouse

Theatre de Follies - Ottawa, ON Canada

Thursday 17 May; at 5:30pm in the Blue

Saturday 19 May; at 11:30am in the Blue

Sunday 20 May; at 7:15pm in the Blue

Monday 21 May; at 8:45pm in the Blue

Wednesday 23 May; at 6:00pm in the Blue

Saturday 26 May; at 6:00pm in the Blue

Sunday 27 May; at 11:30am in the Blue

Price: $11 + Fringe Button (good for entire Fringe)

Discount(s): Students|Seniors|Fringe Artist/Volunteers

Length: 60

Rating: G-14

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