Adelaide Fringe Review: Chansons: Piaf, Brel & Me

Join charming chanteuse, Stefanie Rummel, in her intimate one-woman cabaret show about France.

European songstress Stefanie Rummel shares her passion for the timeless songs of Edith Piaf and Jacques Brel in this personal and eclectic cabaret show. Piaf and Brel are French music legends, as singers and songwriters, whose songs celebrate both love and heartbreak.

This very intimate one-hour show highlights many classics of the French cabaret canon including Amsterdam – a song recorded by everyone from Ute Lemper to David Bowie, Milord, and La Vie en Rose. It also goes beyond these to include songs from Hollywood and 60s pop music. Interestingly, she is German and not French, although as she tells the audience, her family always spent time in the south of France when she was young.

Stefanie Rummel is clearly completely at home on the stage, so relaxed and confident even in front of an intimate audience. She welcomes everyone to the show with a personal greeting and a charming keepsake of a little silk bag of dried lavender. Then she takes to the stage, a vision in red and black sparkles.

The show opens with a lovely rendition of Jacques Brel’s classic song Ne me quitte pas and then segues into the better-known English adaptation If You Go Away, made famous by both Shirley Bassey and Dusty Springfield. Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend, the song made famous by Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, may not be French but it absolutely suits Stefanie’s rich tones.

Throughout the show, Stefanie seamlessly transitions between languages, singing in French, German, and English, (and perhaps Italian too) very often in the same song. This is so smooth that you hardly realise she’s changed languages, just proving the universality of music. Indeed, this is one of Stefanie’s key messages – that music has an amazing power to cross borders and unite people of different places and cultures. As she says, “it is through songs that we are finally able to understand each other.”

Stefanie is certainly a very accomplished international performer, having taken this show and others around the world, not only to the Adelaide and Edinburgh Fringe Festivals but to places as far away as Greenland and Iceland – not on every performer’s touring calendar!

In true cabaret tradition, Stefanie shares personal stories and anecdotes between the songs, sometimes about her life in music and sometimes just her very personal musings on life. She even gives the audience a quick lesson in playing the kazoo, an instrument so rarely seen on stage that only one or two people even knew its name.

This is a lovely show to just sit back and relax, to close your eyes and let her deep, strong voice take you on a nostalgic trip to the cabaret clubs of old Paris. Stefanie is a multi-award winning singer and has had a busy career in musical theatre in Europe, performing in the hit-show Nunsense for many years. This vast well of performance experience shines through in her warm and relaxed stage presence.

Chansons: Piaf, Brel & Me is a very personal song and story cycle and a treat for lovers of traditional French cabaret music.

Chansons: Piaf, Brel & Me – Musical Cabaret About France

Until Sunday 25th of February

The Garage International, Adelaide Town Hall

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