“You don’t have to stay in the gutter just because you were born there…”
Born Edith Gassion in 1915, no one could have predicted Edith Piaf’s phenomenal rise to fame – from singing in the streets of Paris to becoming one of France’s biggest international stars, her voice is still revered to this day. But her extraordinary talent was matched with an equally extraordinary personal life…
Pam Gems has reworked her celebrated 1978 original, “Piaf.” She vividly captures the glamour and squalor, the rise and fall of the complex, fragile, and enigmatic performer Edith Piaf, who continues to be remembered and revered for her exceptional voice and extraordinary life. The play also features some of Piaf’s most famous songs, including La Vie en Rose, Hymne à l’amour and Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien.
WARNING – Please note this play contains Adult Language
RICK BOWEN – StageStruck – 5 Star Review
WHEN Emily Leeland sings Piaf in this warts and all portrayal of the iconic French star my
top lip quivered with emotion and my insides turned to jelly.
More than once.
Leeland is also every inch the diva in Pam Gems’ captivating play, not holding back when it
comes to getting exactly what Piaf wants. Top of Piaf’s list are a career and a man, a man
who can live up to her exacting demands. She gives a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘high
What makes Piaf’s story so captivating is it’s a story of success against all odds, how a young
girl abandoned by her mother and raised in a brothel ended up having an audience with a US
For me, there were echoes of Evita, reminding us that yes, it’s still possible to triumph in the
face of adversity.
You should feel very jealous of anyone lucky enough to have a ticket for tis because director
Charlie Tomlinson and his creative team serve up a theatrical treat here. The production is
just over two hours long and it feels like you’ve been in the theatre no more than around 20
But Leeland’s performance is by no means the only one to enjoy here. Olivia Riley is
seriously funny as Piaf’s long suffering and loyal friend Tonie with the two actresses
establishing an effortless camaraderie from the start.
The velvety voiced Steven Finney is excellent as the plain speaking nightclub owner Louis
Leplee and I can’t wait for the next production in which he has a bigger singing part.
Sam Evans is sure to have you swooning as the silky smooth French singer Charles
This is a production that simply must be experienced. A joy and a major triumph for all
Star rating – ***** Tickets are available from 0161 928 1677 or
www.altrinchamgarrick.co.uk. Good news – the Garrick is planning to put on a Saturday
matinee to meet demand for tickets. Call the box office for details.
Photos – Martin Ogden
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