A Night to Baguette made its Australian debut at Adelaide Fringe last week and we saw it on its final presentation on 15 March 2023.
The show was described as an absurdist tragi-comedy by Louise McCabe in our interview with her. A Night to Baguette takes place in Nazi-occupied Paris in 1941 and revolves around Lulu Ledoux, a fictional character developed and played by Louise McCabe. She introduces herself as both the victim and the investigator of her own death. She dies before she is able to perform The Greatest French Song Ever Written. She tells us that there are 3 suspects, the killer will be revealed, and that the show will include real and imagined French chanson.
In fact, there are songs in both French and English. Songs are interspersed throughout the story being told by Lulu. The show opens with the familiar tune of non, je ne regrette rien on piano.
The band wear berets and Lulu speaks with a strong faux French accent. The violinist Ingrid Homburg also plays the role of one of the suspects, Lulu’s rich landlady. The drummer, Dylan Warren, announces the various scenes of the story while holding large cards with the same words on them. The pianist Deborah Brennan performed beautifully.
The other cast members are Denise Boyland as another cabaret singer and Lulu’s rival, and Jimmy Vine who plays Lulu’s lover, Gerard. Both perform their roles convincingly and at times amusingly.
A Night to Baguette has a simple set – the band on one side of the stage on piano, drums and violin, plus two microphones on stands. On the other side of the stage there is a table, two chairs, a black handbag, a baguette, and a perfume bottle.
The absurdist element, which is quite French in itself, is seen with a wonderful baguette fighting scene and the exaggerated, amusing competition between Lulu and the other singer.
The story is so engaging and full of twists and turns that we almost forgot The Greatest French Song Ever Written. You’re sure to be surprised, as we were, when you discover what that song is.
A night to Baguette reveals Louise McCabe as a skilled singer in both English and in French. Her 20 years of cabaret experience and training is evident. The way in which she has developed the characters of Lulu, the landlady, the rival cabaret singer and Gerard her lover, and written the story around her death, and the investigation of it, is brilliant.
Matilda Marseillaise was a guest of Adelaide Fringe.
The Adelaide Fringe season of A Night to Baguette has concluded. If it tours your city, we strongly recommend you go to see it. To keep updated on this and other shows by Guilty Pleasures Shows, check out their website.
For more Adelaide Fringe content, check out the below articles:
For other events with French and Francophone links happening in Australia this month, check out our What’s on in March article.