This year, the Adelaide Cabaret Festival has given us some amazing, brilliant and high-class performances. So too has the Cabaret Fringe Festival, with its pinnacle quite possibly being the wonderfully mesmerising Exposing Edith.
Written and performed by Michaela Burger and Greg Wain, and directed by Shona Benson, this expose of famed French singer, Edith Piaf, is superb, stunning and simply sublime.
Piaf brought the emotion of her songs out through her voice, using minute hand movements and maintaining an almost still physicality. Benson wisely mirrors this stillness and minimalism in her direction of the performance, utilising Wain’s skilful acoustic guitar playing and Burger’s voice to their fullest potential – and what a magnificent voice Burger has! Clarity, strength, softness and beautiful tonal quality all abound in this diminutive pocket rocket.
Whilst delivering the feistiness of fiery diva Piaf, Burger allows the audience to still see her own gentleness and cheeky sense of humour. She has a lovely rapport with her audience.
Exposing Edith concentrates on Piaf’s life from age twenty onwards; however, there is a delightful attempt by Burger to detail her early life from birth to twenty in one minute (performed in 54 seconds on the night reviewed!).
All the well-known Piaf songs are included, as well as some lesser familiar tunes, but it was Burger’s rendition of Non, je ne regrette rien (No Regrets) that had goose-bumps rising, hearts bursting and the audience demanding a reprise.
Benson’s simple direction, Wain’s expert playing (and quite nicely lilting vocals occasionally) and Ms Burger’s scintillating performance make this production a moving and hypnotic pleasure, more than worthy of the standing ovation it received – very rare for a cabaret production.
Try to catch the last performance of Exposing Edith: you will have no regrets, but plenty if you miss it.
Reviewed by Brian Godfrey
Your Twitter: @briangods
Venue: Nexus Cabaret corner North Tce and Morphett Street, Adelaide
Season: 11 – 25 June 2014
Duration: 1 hour
Tickets: $25.00 – $30.00
Bookings: Book through the Cabaret Fringe Festival online or tickets at the door if not sold out.