Jenna Russell as Piaf
Jenna Russell as Piaf

The story of French girl Edith Gassion who was discovered singing in the street to win her next meal is well known.

Reinvented as Edith Piaf and becoming one of the best-selling artists in the world, she struggled to leave her past behind and lived a life of lavish spending, hedonism and addiction to inappropriate men. , alcohol and pain relievers before dying at age 47.

Jenna Russell looks superb in the role of Piaf – she portrays Edith through the many stages of her life with sympathy and with consummate skill.

His talk about sons is powerful and compelling and I liked that some of the lyrics were in English.

The cockney twang of Russell’s dialogue grated at first, but I understand the reasoning behind it: a way to strengthen Edith’s life as a poor working-class girl.

The narrative is secondary to the songs and contours of important aspects of her life and the period in which she lived.

It helps if you are aware of its history in advance to make sense of certain scenes.

For example, his involvement in helping thousands of French Jews escape the Nazis should have been further highlighted and explained in more detail.

The other eight cast members take on many roles.

Laura Pitt-Pulford is particularly impressive as Marlene Dietrich and Madeliene, Edith’s patient secretary, but the roles played by the men are not so memorable.

All except Matthew Woodyatt who plays Raymond and Charles Aznavour: he also plays a nasty accordion

Toine, played by Sally-Ann Triplett, is Edith’s confidante and best friend on the street. She is warm and loud. The couple have had a conflicted relationship for the past few years, but it’s clear the friendship is still there.