A bit like the old Stingray television show (remember that anyone?), “anything can happen in the next half hour” (well closer to 50 minutes or so here) at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and Piaf and Brel: The Impossible Concert at theSpace @ Surgeons Hall - Theatre 1 is one of those things.
This solo performance by internationally acclaimed Canadian vocalist Melanie Gall brings together on stage the songs (and a very brief history) of two French music icons Edith Piaf and Jacques Brel. As we know though, Brel was actually Belgian, but the French forgave him that little oversight of birth.
Over the space of a little under an hour, Melanie Gall takes us to “the impossible concert” as we enjoy some of the best known and lesser known songs of both artists. Piaf and Brel never performed together, recorded together, or even met one another, but through their music we get to imagine what might have been.
The very format, and limited time of a Fringe show of course means that for every favourite song in this set, someone else’s favourite has been left out, but considering the back catalogue of both artists and so many well known (and not so well known) songs to choose from, the set list should please both the casual fan and the purist of both Edith Piaf and Jacques Brel. Some of the best known songs of Piaf and Brel are performed with genuine affection for both their content and of course Piaf and Brel – Milord; Non, Je ne Regrette Rien; Ne Me Quitte Pas; and Le Chanson des Vieus Amants are all in this show, and thankfully, being a French speaker, Melanie has kept these songs in their original French language as although some of the re-written English language versions, or “close translations” are great songs, these original words are always where the heart and soul of these songs truly resides.
These songs are always about the story and the passion behind them, and Melanie Gall understands this in her performance on stage of these timeless classics
Review by Tom King
Piaf and Brel: The Impossible Concert
theSpace @ Surgeons Hall - Theatre 1
Aug 3-4, 6-11, 13-17
Group: Melanie Gall Presents