Adelaide Fringe

Fringe Review: Love on the Left Bank

A powerful narration and performance of the resilient spirit of the muse of Saint-Germain-des-Prés Juliette Gréco.

A powerful narration and performance of the resilient spirit of the muse of Saint-Germain-des-Prés Juliette Gréco.
5

Presented by: Louise Blackwell
Reviewed: 19 February, 2023

The show opens with an energetic tune as Adelaide actress and singer Louise Blackwell steps onto the stage emulating the simple black style of the muse of Saint-Germain-des-Prés Juliette Gréco. The venue is dark, intimate, and inviting as it imitates the café theaters of the left bank of Paris which was known for its non-conformist crowd and home to actors, singers, and musicians.

Blackwell puts on a French accent—making this show a part reenactment and part narration of the life of Gréco. The story commences during the nazi-occupation of Paris as a 16-year-old Juliette adjusts to the realities of war and poverty. The performance takes you through the trials and tribulations of Gréco’s life from the 1940s through to the 1950s. Blackwell’s performance and vocals are exemplarily; you can’t help but feel the emotions of Gréco through Blackwell’s commanding vocals and storytelling. The transitions from Blackwell’s narration of Gréco to performance is smooth and subtle. Blackwell’s narration has an infectious energy that leaves you wanting more.

Director Cathererine Fitzgerald and Musical Director Mark Simeon Fergurson’s arrangements for each song provide Blackwell and band with the support needed to deliver a performance that makes you feel as though you are sitting in the café theatres of Le Tabou, Les Assassins or La Rose Rouge. This atmosphere is further reinforced by the textured layering of strings and brass by the six-piece band who provide a perfect performance with each song.

The performance includes some of Gréco’s well-known songs such as Les Feuilles Mortes (Autumn Leaves) but the highlight of the show was Blackwell’s performance of Jacques Brel’s anti-war song Le Diable “Ça Va” first sung by Juliette in 1955. The combination of red lights, powerful vocals, and assortment of strings left you enraptured.

Reviewed by Tiana Blazevic-Bastow

Venue: Various Venues
Season: February 19 – 28, 2023
Duration: 75 minutes
Tickets: From $40.00
Bookings: https://adelaidefringe.com.au/fringetix/love-on-the-left-bank-af2023

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