Review: Piaf

By John Nathan, August 22, 2008


When the Argentine performer Elena Roger made her West End debut in Evita, I said she had something of Edith Piaf about her. Now here she is as the great Parisian chanteuse.

For this revival of Pam Gems's biographical play, it is as if Jamie Lloyd's whirlwind production has been plugged into the mains. There are moments when the tiny Roger is flung around the stage like a rag doll as she and the play career through the highlights and lowlights of Piaf's alcohol- and drug-fuelled life.

Gems's writing is a solid if uninspired star vehicle. But as the disintegrating Piaf the terrific Roger - her mouth lipsticked into a red smear - delivers a foul-mouthed, streetwise, self-destructive egotist who stabs morphine into her leg before singing she has no regrets. It's hard to believe she had none at all.

Last updated: 9:48am, August 22 2008