Piaf Remembered by Gary Merry
OSO Arts Centre
OSO Arts Centre - 24 January 2019
A review by Vince Francis
A welcome return to the OSO in Barnes on a crisp January evening, in full reviewer mode eagerly anticipating the delights of Piaf Remembered, which was premiered at the 2017 Edinburgh Fringe.
I expected a straightforward tribute show, but Piaf Remembered is effectively two stories told in parallel by Robert Dumont, played by Gary Merry. Firstly, there is the tale of Dumont, aged eight, accompanying his father on a trip to Paris in 1962, during which he is taken to see Piaf in what turned out to be her final concert. This leads us to the second story, which is that of Edith Piaf and his fascination with her. The stories are interwoven with the songs of Piaf from that final performance, delivered beautifully by Oriana Curls, who is supported most ably by Chris Jerome on piano and Katy Jungmann on clarinet, saxophone and accordion.
The auditorium was configured in cabaret style, with tables and chairs. Personally, I like this arrangement. I found the storytelling hugely engaging, recreating the excitement, nervousness and fascination of an eight-year old attempting to understand the world of grown-ups and the frankly gob-smacking impact of seeing someone of the artistic stature of Piaf in full flow. Oriana Curls’ performance completely inhabits the spirit of the song.
I enjoyed this show enormously and would have no hesitation in recommending it, particularly to Piaf fans. Some of the finer details of Piaf’s life are glossed over or missing, but that, I think, should be viewed in the context of a young lad’s story of a foray into foreign climes …
Read Vince Francis’ full review at www.markaspen.wordpress.com/2019/01/19/piaf
Photography courtesy of Piaf Remembered Company
Two Stories, One Artiste Piaf Remembered by Gar