With its polished wood and mirrored walls, The Famous Spiegeltent does a good job of convincing us we’re back in mid 20th-century Paris. But with only the power of her remarkable voice, Christine Bovill does an utterly convincing job of making us believe its stage is inhabited by none other than Edith Piaf.
Reprising her 2011 & 2012 sell-out performances, Glasgow-born Bovill captures all the rich emotion and tremulous frailty of Piaf’s voice with an almost supernatural ability. Accompanied by piano and violin, her voice resonates with an identical power and beauty to that of the Little Sparrow’s.
Presenting a selection of Piaf’s classics in chronological order, Bovill sketches out a musical biography of the feted, fateful singer’s life. But, rather than dwelling on the trials and tragedies, she allows the songs to speak for themselves: spine-tingling renditions of lost loves, wasted lives and no regrets.
Bovill herself has a self-effacing charm and appears a little nervous — but when she allows herself to be possessed heart and soul by Piaf, this melts away and the Spiegeltent is filled with her heart-rending performance, infused with emotion and an obvious love for her muse.
Christine Bovill’s Piaf is almost unsettling in its accuracy, but it is much more than merely a well-performed tribute: it is a passionate and heartfelt performance which soars high on wings of its own and is, as a result, unmissable.
Christine Bovill’s Piaf plays for a few remaining dates at The Assembly Rooms’ Famous Spiegeltent at 20:30.