Adelaide Fringe

Fringe Review: Chansons: Piaf, Brel & Me- Musical Cabaret about France

Stefanie Rummel takes us on a journey through the world of French Chanson.

Stefanie Rummel takes us on a journey through the world of French Chanson.

Presented by: Stefanie Rummel & The Garage International
Reviewed: 19 February, 2023

Stefanie Rummel has been performing theatre, cabaret and solo concerts all around the world. Having lived in France, Germany and the United States she has become a master in multilingual singing. Her solo cabaret show, Chansons: Piaf, Brel & Me – A Musical Cabaret about France, has come to the Garage International as part of the Adelaide Fringe.

In French, the word chanson means “song”. Chanson music refers to various eras of French songs, from the monophonic chant of the Middle Ages to the polyphonic singing of the Renaissance. Modern chanson music connects nineteenth-century cabaret music in Paris to contemporary pop music. In this show Rummel goes on a journey of many of France’s Chanson singers, including the legendary Jacques Brel and Edith Piaf.The show comprises stories from Rummel’s life and journeys whilst living in France. Each story was then accompanied by a song to highlight the themes that she had just discussed. Love, friends, and life experiences were just some of the themes that Rummel explored. Thrown in amongst Rummel’s stories were some interesting historical facts about the artists behind the songs.

Rummel’s infectious and warming demeanour quickly pulled the audience into this hour-long performance. She has an amazing ability to switch between singing in English and then in French without the audience even being aware. When she was singing in French, Rummel used a lot of hand gestures and facial expressions that helped translate to the listener what she was singing. 

Rummel’s voice is very unique. With hints of Piaf’s classic and trademark vibrato, her alto voice has a beautiful warmth and maturity to it. She sings with wonderfully clear diction and has excellent pitch and breath control. Rummel’s vocal timbre is perfectly suited to this classic French music.

A big let down to this show was the audio. Rummel’s vocals were only coming through the on-stage fold back system, and her pre-recorded tracks only came through the Front Of House speakers. This caused Rummel’s voice to often get lost in the mix. Also, the bass levels in the Front Of House mix were set rather high, causing a very muddy sound.

On a hot Sunday afternoon, it was pleasant to sit in the cool of the Garage International’s venue and be taken on a cabaret journey with Stefanie Rummel.

Reviewed by Ben Stefanoff

Venue: The Garage International @ Adelaide Town Hall
Season: February 20 – March 1
Duration: 1 hour
Tickets: From $25

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