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Monday, November 18, 2013


(Daniéle Pascal. Pic Nicky Coetzee)

Daniéle Pascal in a show not to be missed. (Review by Keith Millar)

During her production, The Songs Of Èdith Piaf, Daniéle Pascal describes the iconic French chanteuse as a “force of nature”. These same words can very aptly be used to describe Pascal’s own performance in this intense and moving tribute.

She is sublime as she tells the story of Piaf through words and music. Audiences are taken on an poignant journey which has them captivated, moved and, on more than one occasion, reduced to tears.

Fifty years have passed since the death at 47 of France’s greatest international star, Édith Piaf. Known as The Little Sparrow because of her diminutive size, her hauntingly beautiful voice is as loved and revered today, as it was when she was still alive.

Piaf’s emotional and sometimes melancholy songs, such as Non, Je ne Regrette Rein (I Regret Nothing), La Vie En Rose (Life Through Rose Tinted Glasses) and Hymne à ľamour (Hymn To Love), reflect the difficult life she lived. She was born to Parisian street performers, abandoned by her mother and reared in a brothel. Her only child who was born when Piaf was 17 died from meningitis at the age of two. The love of her life was killed in an airplane accident and she also had many other unsuccessful love affairs.

Piaf also struggled with alcoholism and drug addiction for most of her life. It is this complex and tragic character, along with most of her best loved songs, which is presented by Daniéle Pascal in her emotive tribute to Édith Piaf.

Pascal is a consummate professional. She delivers a performance of deep sensitivity and tenderness. Not even technical problems caused by a power outage in the second half were able to phase her. Without missing a beat she carried right on and, if anything, the dramatic impact of her performance was increased.

Pascal is accompanied on piano by a superbly talented and versatile Pieter van Helslandt. His subtle performance was wonderfully supportive and complimentary and played an important part in the quality of the production. He also impressed with his seamless move to an alternative upright piano when the technical glitch occurred.

The Rhumbelow Theatre in Umbilo is ideal venue for this type of cabaret presentation. With its quaint atmosphere and super theatre format it is not difficult to believe that one is in a dimly-lit Parisian cafe.

Daniéle Pascal is renowned for her interpretation of Édith Piaf’s music. Her passionate and loving performance during this production will not only enhance her reputation but also earned her a sustained standing ovation from a highly appreciative audience. It is a tour de force performance which will excite all who love Piaf’s music, and is sure to win over many new fans. This is a show not to be missed.

Pascal is currently on a mini-tour of KwaZulu-Natal with The Songs of Édith Piaf and her show entitled A French Affair.

Performances are as follows and the venues open 90 minutes before show for picnic dinner.
A French Affair will be performed on November 20 and 21 at 19h00 at Alliance Française Durban; on November 22 at 19h30 at the Schlesinger Theatre, Michaelhouse and on November 24 at 18h30 at Rhumbelow Durban.

The Songs Of Èdith Piaf can be seen at Rhumbelow Durban on November 23 at 20h00 and November 24 at 14h00.

Bookings for Rhumbelow Theatre Durban and Pietermaritzburg through Computicket. Tickets R100. Bring food picnic baskets. More information from Roland on 031 205 7602 or 082 499 8636 or e-mail : or visit

Bookings for Alliance Française Durban through Denise on 031 312 9582 or e-mail:

Bookings for Schlesinger Theatre, Michaelhouse on 033 234 1314 (weekdays 08h00 to 13h00) or e-mail : Keith Millar