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
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