A singer from Glasgow who admits that “I hated French at school” may not seem the most obvious person to star in a show celebrating the life and songs of Edith Piaf, but from the opening notes of “Padam…Padam…” Christine Bovill brought Piaf to life. This was a very simple show, Christine singing, accompanied by Jennifer Redmond on piano. No gimmicks, just musical perfection.
This year is the centenary of Piaf’s birth in Paris in 1915. She lived a short life, dying from cancer in 1963 at the age of 47, and as Christine said, it was a life of triumph and tragedy. Piaf’s personal life had much sadness, which probably led her to sing so many songs of tragedy and loss, but her professional life grew from strength to strength, from being something of a “working class curiosity” to at one point being the highest paid entertainer in the world.
Christine Bovill tells Piaf’s story, intermingled with her own story of how she came to know and love Piaf’s work, and of course sings some memorable songs along the way in a voice which is uncannily reminiscent of Piaf’s vibrato. Some of these wonderful songs were “I Wish You Love”, “L’Hymne a L’Amour” “Mon Dieu”, “Mon Manege A Moi”, and of course no Piaf show could be complete without “La Vie En Rose” and her greatest ever hit, “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien”.
Christine told us that the highlight of her own career was singing with Charles Dumont, the composer of “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien” when he came to one of her Fringe shows. Having heard her tonight, I’m sure there will be more wonderful highlights to come for Christine. She also recalled how she first heard Piaf on a compilation record at the age of 14 and immediately became “spellbound by this voice”. When you hear Christine Bovill singing, you will become spellbound by her voice too.
Oh, and she did learn to love French, eventually becoming a French teacher, all thanks to Edith Piaf!
You can find out more about Christine, and her upcoming performances at www.christinebovill.com