Adelaide Fringe

Fringe Review: Piaf & Brel: The Impossible Concert

Melanie Gall’s sensitive and brilliant interpretation of some Edith Piaf and Jacques Brel favourites in French and English is spellbinding

Piaf and Brel have never sounded so good (apart from the originals)

Reviewed at Cafe Outside The Square on 10 March 2019

Presented by Emma Knights Productions

Melanie Gall is another hidden gem of the Fringe Festival. Fresh off the plane from Alberta, Canada. Heroically ignoring the jet lag (it was 1.30 am Canada time when she started her 5pm show in Australia– always an odd challenge). Thank you, Emma Knights for producing yet another high-quality show in this really diverse 2019 Fringe programme, and persevering through some challenges to get all these wonderful overseas artists a suitable venue for their shows.

See if you can find a spare ticket to one of Melanie’s shows; judging by the audience reaction to her performance at Café Outside The Square today you will not be disappointed. Fans of Piaf and Brel will revel in this show; Melanie is a consummate performer, New York Opera school trained, she has chosen to pursue a pathway that gives her versatile, and oh so listenable, voice a new paddock to run in. She obviously has the chops to sing opera beautifully, she demonstrated that to great comic effect! But her sensitive and brilliant interpretation of some Piaf and Brel favourites in French and English is spellbinding, both to watch and be part of, and her audience lapped it up. No doubt the reason she has travelled all over the world with this sparkling show.

You know when you are in the presence of a gifted performer when they captivate you so easily with the material they are using that the world goes away and all that is left is the world they have created for you, and they hold just you as the only occupant of that space, in spite of the other 60 + plus people in the audience with you who are all feeling the same personal connection to the song they are swept up in. Melanie creates a really comfortable environment for her audience as she sweeps us up in the stories that connect her and the audience to Piaf and Brel.

With just the right amount of naughty to stop anyone from losing interest she delves into the private lives of these two incredible humans who worked their way into the hearts of generations of music lovers with songs that identified for them, and us, just how good and bad life can make us feel. Piaf’s vulnerability and Brel’s need for adventure are captured in this exciting and engaging hour of songs and story-telling. I could go through the playlist, but for aficionados that would be a spoiler, and if you have never heard of these two iconic artists it’s a great and informative introduction.

Don’t take my word for it, go and have a look for yourself. This is a talent that we haven’t seen in Australia before, or heard the last of. Great songs, great comic ability, great spellbinding performance – you really earned that standing ovation Melanie!

Reviewed by Adrian Barnes

Venue: The Jade, 142-160 Flinders Street, Adelaide
Season: March 15th  2019
Duration:  55 minutes
Tickets:  Full Price: $32.00 Concession: $28.00


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