Louise Blackwell and the French Set performed their final Adelaide Fringe 2021 show at new venue The Queens entitled “A night in Paris” on Saturday afternoon in Adelaide.
We saw this show in 2019 (read our review of that show here) and note that the 2021 edition has been updated with some new songs added into the mix. For the 2021 show of A night in Paris, Louise had chosen songs around the theme of love.
Dressed in charcoal pants and a flowing white blouse, Louise looked radiant as she performed in Adelaide’s oldest theatre. Louise Blackwell was accompanied by The French Set made up of Mark Ferguson on piano, John Aue on double bass, Julian Ferrarretto on violin, saw and trombone (all within the one song at one point!) and Josh Baldwin on drums.
Throughout the show, songs are interspersed with Louise sharing her memories of living in Paris in the Marais, Saturday afternoons spent on terraces or browsing books at FNAC. Or of her studies in art and cinema in Lyon. Something else that Louise does exceptionally well apart from her impressive singing is to explain to the francophiles who are mostly non francophone what the songs she is about to sing are actually about.
Louise Blackwell and the French Set open A night in Paris with Y’en ai marre, written by Leo Ferree and most popularly sung by Juliette Greco (who sadly passed away in September last year). Then we move into some Brassens with his song Les Bancs Publics written, composed and released in 1953. A song about how the public benches are not for the infirmed or for people watching but for the lovers in Paris. Louise’s French set join in on the backing vocals for this one.
A Night in Paris also features songs from Barbara, Jean Constantin, Michel Legrand, among others. A Night in Paris at The Queens was a 12 song set of mainly French and Belgian (Brel’s “Des vieux amants”) love songs. While most of the songs in A Night in Paris are from the 50s through to the 70s, and even as far back as the 1930s, a more contemporary song is in the mix being Demain j’avoue by Presque Oui. It fits perfectly into the set list, not standing out as any more modern than the rest.
While most of the show contains French songs, there is also an Italian one “The Raincoats” for which Louise dressed the part in a trenchcoat, a hat and glasses. The English language song “Once upon a Summertime” also fits nicely into the show. A French show would not be complete without some Serge Gainsbourg and his iconic “La javanaise” is played as Louise also notes the recent 30th anniversary of his death.
One of my favourites from this show is one that Louise often performs is “La bicyclette” from Yves Montand with the boys all trying their best to show off and to woo the postman’s daughter, Paulette.
Louise Blackwell and The French Set are always outstanding offering a very polished show of chanson française. A must see whenever they perform.
Matilda Marseillaise was a guest of Adelaide Fringe.
Adelaide Fringe 2021 has now drawn to a close but Louise Blackwell and the French Set perform in Adelaide throughout the year – look out for them on Bastille Day at the Wheatsheaf Hotel in Mile End. Tickets not yet released. You can keep up with their news on their website https://www.louiseblackwell.com/
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