Piaf Review

  • Date:
    Wednesday, August 13, 2008


    Genre: Drama
    Opened 13 Aug 2008
    Written: Pam Gems
    Directed: Jamie Lloyd
    Produced: Donmar Warehouse
    Cast: Elena Roger (Edith Piaf)
    Synopsis: From the streets of Paris to worldwide fame, Edith Piaf continues to be remembered and revered for her exceptional voice and her equally extraordinary life. In this new production of Piaf, Pam Gems has reworked her 1978 play vividly capturing the glamour and squalor, the rise and fall, of this complex, fragile and enigmatic performer.

    What the popular press had to say.....
    JOHANN HARI for THE EVENING STANDARD says, " Elena Roger...has folded herself into Edith Piaf so perfectly." PAUL TAYLOR for THE INDEPENDENT says, "Roger sings as though her lungs depend on it. Her delivery is huge and gutsy but it does not sound from the gut. Watching her in Jamie Lloyd's punchy, proscenium-arched production, I kept thinking of computer-generated images and how they annihilate any sense of real odds being overcome." MICHAEL BILLINGTON for THE GUARDIAN says, "[Elena Roger]It is a tremendous performance , buttressed by Jamie Lloyd's production which punctuates Gems's snapshot scenes with the exaggerated click of a camera shutter...if there was an instant standing ovation, it was for Roger's triumphant performance rather than the play." BENEDICT NIGHTINGALE for THE TIMES says, "Pam Gems’s 100-minute salute to the embattled life and feisty yet poignant art of Edith Piaf is sketchy, even scrappy, but then a neat, smooth play would hardly suit its defiantly unneat and unsmooth heroine. In any case, such objections dwindle to cavils, given the quality that the Argentine actress Elena Roger brings to the role of the little sparrow with the big vibrato." CHARLES SPENCER for THE DAILY TELEGRAPH says, "What's missing is any sense that this is a performance dragged from the actress's guts. Roger shares Piaf's diminutive stature, and she is by turns imperious, petulant, fiery and vulnerable, but I never felt as though I was being vouchsafed a glimpse into the singer's soul...Jamie Lloyd directs an efficient but curiously soulless production."

    External links to full reviews from popular press
    The Independent
    The Guardian
    The Daily Telegraph
    The Times

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