Friday, 14 November 2008
HOT: Piaf, Vaudeville Theatre, 404 Strand WC2R 0NH
When an actor is playing a real life person, it can often be hard to distinguish between a skillful imitation and when the actor is really getting into the skin of the other person. What makes the Donmar's production of Piaf so spectacular is the unnervingly convincing portrayal of the Little Sparrow by Elena Roger - a tiny Argentinian who doesn't speak French. I think she could have run the show solo - the flitting in and out of lovers, friends and colleagues all paled in comparison to her engrossing performance, which captured Piaf's firecracker spirit, creeping vulnerability and pain and above all her powerfully emotional singing, down to every sideways shoulder glance and distinctive nasal vibrato.