On Friday night, in a place called The Girls’ Place in Thebarton, we were spoiled by a truly wonderful show: Under the Paris Sky.
There is Georgia Darcy, who has an incredible voice and presence on stage. She sings all of the songs in the show, which go from Bref to Piaf and to Zaz, a French singer who is little known in Australia but who Georgia believes, and we agree with her, should be known by all.
There is also Simon Walters who plays the keyboard wonderfully. And then there is Louise, who is in real life, Georgia’s wife. In this show, she plays Cécile, thé French maid who doesn’t clean a lot but who steals Georgia’s jewellery, boots and later, car.
The show starts with Georgia wrapped in a towel running right and left. She leaves the stage and returns wearing a blue dress and silver knee-high boots. She is only wearing one earring and asks Cécile if she has seen the other. Cécile says no but as soon as Georgia leaves the stage, Cécile removes the matching earring from her cleavage. This creates an amusing ambiance, in which the show continues. Cécile is dressed in a short sexy French maid’s outfit complete with fishnets.
The show is called “Under the Paris Sky” and so it is pertinent that the first song sung by Georgia is “Sous le ciel de Paris” from the 1951 film of the same name. Georgia is not only an incredible singer but she also explains through translations, explanations and gestures what the songs are about. This is important because there are many francophiles who are not francophone. Understanding the subject matter of the songs renders them even more beautiful and interesting.
Georgia follows up with the song “Je veux”. It’s at this moment that she explains that she always dreamt of not having to clean and as such decided to find herself a cleaning lady and a French one so she could practice her French. Georgia explains that she found Cécile on a website about fulfilling your fantasies. “Je veux” is a song by Zaz, in fact one of her best known songs, which was released in 2010.
The next song is “La Mer” by Trenet, which Georgia explains from its sound means both the sea and the mother and that the sea is the mother of all of us. Georgia has a way of explaining things that is a little philosophical. A cabaret with philosophy is a rare but beautiful thing.
She tells us that she asked Cécile to create some props for the show. What Cécile has created for La Mer is hilarious. For a song which is a love song to the sea, Cécile comes out and strolls from table to table with a grotesque orange fish which could scare you! Georgia says to her “ non, non, non, pas de tout, non.”
The following song is “Dans ma rue”, also by Zaz. Georgia explains that it’s a song about a dying girl who lies in her bed by the window in Montmartre and listens to the sounds below. Her mother works at the laundry to feed the family. Her Dad comes home drunk one night and tells her she can’t lie there all the time, she needs to earn her keep. That men find her somewhat pretty so she should earn her living on the streets below like other women do.
After this sad song, we needed something to pick our mood back up. And it’s at that moment that Georgia introduces us to Bozo, a clown’s head. She sings him Brel’s “Carrousel (La Valse à Mille Temps)” and asks him to repeat it back. It starts as something innocent and even sweet, but as the tempo speeds up, so does the creepy factor. But that is the aim, after all the song speaks about the carousel of life. I really had the impression I was on a carousel and even felt a bit giddy it was so well done..
And then off we go, it’s champagne time, or at least for Cécile. We don’t want to reveal too much but she pops the cork in a very original way, but perhaps not one to recommend in public places!
Georgia returns but this time with a massive black wig towering on her head. She is now Julienne Carotte, who is sad because her husband left her for his secretary. What follows is a hilarious cover of Pink Martini’s “Je ne veux pas travailler”. An amusing scene ensues in which Cécile tries to top up Julienne’s glass as she sings. Cécile runs from left to right after the staggering Julienne but each time she gets close, Julienne takes off in the other direction.
If you’re going to sing Piaf, you should do it well. Many try to sing Piaf but few do it justice. Thankfully, Georgia knows not only how to sing in French but she sings Piaf in such a way that we could think we were listening to Piaf herself. Her way of rolling her Rs like Piaf is impressive. Something very difficult for an anglophone to do. Her version of “La Vie en rose” almost brought tears to my eyes, it was so well done..
And then we go from a singer we all know to Zaz, who is little known in Australia. Georgia explains to us that she very much likes the positive messages in Zaz’ songs before singing “Comme si, comme ça”, a song which encourages people to be themselves.
And then it’s into a sexy tango song. Georgia tells us that we don’t need to understand this song but just to listen to it. It’s the song “Maintenant” by Rupa & the April Fishes.
While Georgia is singing this song, Cécile comes on stage and whispers in her ear. Apparently she needs to move her car. Georgia asks Cécile to do it as she can’t stop the show. She gives some very amusing instructions on starting the car. Which is the perfect way to lead us into the next song “ Le long de la route”, another Zaz’ song.
Then Under the Paris Sky is almost over, so the last song is the iconic “Je ne regrette rien” by Edith Piaf.
Georgia is ethereal in Under the Paris Sky. You cannot ignore her stage presence. Our eyes were fixed on her throughout the show. We could have listened to her for hours (and with an album being released soon, we are happy to know we will be able to!) The one hour of the show is too short. Her voice is hypnotizing, the show resplendent. Even if we have only just finished week one of the Adelaide Fringe, we can easily say this will be one of our favourite shows of the Adelaide Fringe. It will also remain one of the best French cabaret shows I’ve seen in Adelaide. A must see!
Matilda Marseillaise was a guest of Adelaide Fringe
There is only one show left for Under the Paris Sky: today at 12:30 (the show proper starts at 2pm).
You can buy your tickets here. They cost $55 and include a main and dessert.