I first fell under the enchanting spell of Caroline Nin’s powerful and passionate ode to Edith Piaf during a press preview last fall for the current exhibit on the legend at the Bibliothèque Nationale. This sneak peak of her show, Hymne à Piaf, had me at the edge of my seat and I couldn’t wait to see the full version, a craving finally satisfied last week.
A Powerful Homage to One of France’s Greatest Songstresses
With this year marking the 100-year anniversary of Piaf’s birth, its the perfect time to celebrate this illustrious personality. Like many of history’s greatest figures, Piaf’s fame went beyond her artistic talent; her own life story, charisma and strong character being essential elements of her phenomenal persona. It’s this magical mix that Nin succeeds in reviving through her show.
Celebrated French cabaret performer Caroline Nin has been perfecting her Hymne à Piaf since 2007, when it was first presented during the renowned Adelaide Cabaret Festival. Her original spectacle, with storytelling in English and songs in French, has thrilled audiences the world over and garnered Nin a prestigious 2012 Helpmann Award nomination for Best Cabaret Performer.
Through Nin’s sultry voice and her engaging performance, we travel through the life and time of La Mome, a colorful narrative woven together with a selections of Piaf’s songs. We dance through the gritty working-class streets of her youth in Menilmontant all the way to starstudded late-night parties in New York, along the way encountering lustful sailors, seductive filles de joie and lascivious lovers. Our hearts bleed with hers over tragically lost love. We soar on her highs and mourn her lows. La vie wasn’t always en rose for Piaf, but it was definitely full of life. A moving evening of French history, culture and spirit that reverberates in one’s soul and has you humming Padam, Padam for days afterwards.
You can take in Nin’s Hymne à Piaf at the Theatre de l’Essaion every Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7.30pm through August 1st (tickets : 20€-30€ online booking here) or keep an eye on Nin’s website for future Parisian and international dates.
Also, don’t miss The exhibit PIAF at the Bibliothèque Nationale (Francois Mitterrand) on through August 23rd and if you’d like to discover more of Piaf’s Paris, have a look at this article I wrote for the HiP Paris blog.