Sit Under the Paris Sky at Adelaide Cabaret Fringe Festival

Reading Time: 8 minutes

Under the Paris Sky is returning to Adelaide stages at the Adelaide Cabaret Fringe Festival this June. The show stars singer Georgia Darcy, her wife Louise as Cécile, Georgia’s French maid, and, Simon Walters, pianist. It was last performed at Adelaide Fringe in 2019 (read our review of the show here). We interview singer Georgia about the show.

Under the Paris Sky

Georgia, you’re bringing your wonderful show Under the Paris Sky to the Adelaide Cabaret Fringe. Please tell us a little about the show and what people can expect to see.

Our guests will hear me sing beautiful, well-known and loved songs in French as well as newer ones that people will leave humming their tunes – they’re so catchy!


Every song has a story or a theme which I convey, sometimes using English touch points or with gestures. Some songs have content in both French and English, others you can follow because the character who sings them has already explained her unfortunate circumstances……!


We make French language songs accessible to those who love them but who don’t necessarily understand or speak French themselves. Guests will be able to browse a program I have put together upon arrival at the theatre before the show starts. It is designed to convey the theme and meaning of each song, again to help non-francophones to connect as deeply as possible to these songs.


It’s not all song either; some of the shenanigans that happen with the cheeky Cecile (played by my wife Louise Lawson) and with Simon, our scintillating piano accompanist, who’s coming over from Melbourne especially for this show, are hilarious!


Your show doesn’t only feature French singers from the past but features a contemporary artist, Zaz. How did you first find out about her and what do you like about her music?

Gosh I can’t remember exactly how or when I first discovered Zaz! Her first big hit was “Je Veux” back in 2010, which is the 2nd song in our show. She writes/co-writes most of her material and her style is sometimes described as “gypsy jazz”. I really love her music for many reasons. The messages in her songs are deeply philosophical and address what I find many of us are thinking and feeling right now.


Je Veux” theme is, “don’t buy me stuff, I want love and connection, interesting conversations and new adventures, come join me!” “Le Longue de la Route” theme is “let’s look inward, clear out our baggage, join hands and create the world we want – we’re all in this together”. “Ni oui ni non” theme is that life is actually paradoxical, not logical – (something I experience and believe).


As a performer she is so authentic, relaxed; living and breathing her art – and we are taken along with her to a new place of connection and possibility. I hope to bring some of that to our guests!


You’re joined on stage by Cecile, a French maid, who may not be French or even a maid! Tell us a little about that.

Hmm yes. Well I wanted someone I could practice my French with at home and who wouldn’t love a maid? So I Googled “French Maids” and, well, got Cecile off the Internet. I was initially very excited, but it hasn’t quite been working out as I had hoped….I’m not entirely sure she is a real maid or even if she’s French! All I can say is anything could happen during the show……


The songs featured in the show are from different eras and styles. What informed your choices of songs appearing in the show? Do you find there is a thread that links them together?

Unlike other Cabaret shows I’ve done, where each song contributes to a narrative, these songs were not chosen for that purpose. I chose these songs for the emotional journey each one can take us on as well as to contrast the messages from the older, more traditional ones to the contemporary ones.


For example “La Vie en Rose” is an old love song that expresses the theme “I am happy because of you/because you are in my life”. Whereas the contemporary message throughout many of Zaz’ songs is “I take responsibility for my own happiness – I would love you to join me on the journey”. Of course, both are equally valid viewpoints, but somewhat different.


This is a new romanticism that moves away from making your beloved your main reason for happiness, to loving yourself, which quite frankly lets your beloved off the hook – which is a loving thing to do. Paradox again! “If you love someone set them free”.


Also, in line with wanting to keep French songs accessible to non-francophones, I chose some whose tunes will be very familiar and are well-loved. They even made a TV coffee commercial out of one of them!


So whilst the individual songs are not linked to each other as such, they do take us on an emotional journey together; joyful, passionate, tranquil, tragic, philosophical, hopeful, playful and sensual……so we experience them relative to each other.


Under the Paris Sky

How long have you been singing?

Hmm. I have always sung for fun and joy from when I was little. I discovered Liza Minnelli at 7 and thought I was her for a while…..I started singing Edith Piaf songs as a French student during high school. I have done some amateur musicals including “Les Misérables” which was life-changing. I started learning voice around 2010.


It wasn’t until I came to South Australia from Victoria in 2012, when I discovered Cabaret thanks to some very generous people who gave me the opportunity to try it. (They know who they are!) My first Cabaret show was in 2013 – that was the first time I sang for an hour, by myself, in public. I LOVED IT!


Since then we have done about 6 different Cabaret shows in Adelaide and Melbourne, including touring to Avignon, France. We are planning to take Under the Paris Sky to many more places!


What drew you to French chanson?

When I was studying French at high school, I discovered the legendary Edith Piaf and was excited to find I could understand bits and pieces of what she was singing. In those days it was on cassette tapes, so I had to keep rewinding them to relisten!


I was astounded by their power and beauty and often their pain. I found I loved to wrap my tongue, lips and throat around the French language whilst singing, even more than speaking; it just seemed to feel more sensual and intense.


French chanson so often has stories that explore nuanced feelings or insights. Through them one can get a glimpse of how people experience being human, especially during what I feel is a time where use of expressive, nuanced language is declining. We have a smaller vocabulary of more extreme words these days – and I miss the in-between emotions and metaphors that give varied colour and granularity to a story. I can still find this in French chansons.


What’s your favourite French song?

Oh gosh, what time is it?….haha that keeps changing. I can’t say because I don’t like to have a favourite. Is that an acceptable non-answer?



Where do you find inspiration? Do you have any French muses?

I’d have to say my current inspiration is Zaz herself, and I so want to learn many more of her songs, not just for their musicality but for their message. I think she is an important voice in the world.


How would you say Under the Paris Sky differs from other shows of French song performed in Australia?

Well of course I’ve not seen all the French song shows performed in Australia so I’ll have to just keep in mind those I have…all of which have been wonderful.


I’d say Under the Paris Sky delivers a rich French-language experience but remains light-hearted as it also has some comedy and theatre. We have tried to make this show very entertaining all-round.


I have been told by people who have a smattering of high-school French that my clear elocution enabled them to understand more French than they usually do, which is great.


Some may find our show much less informative or scholarly than some of the other shows that provide a rich heritage about the origins of their songs and delve into the story of the artists who made them famous. We tend to not do this much, although I do tell everyone a bit about Zaz. I let the songs just stand on their own, but ensure guests are following the theme.


Also, we are a small set-up musically with just piano accompaniment, although Simon builds in magical musical layers and his fingers never leave his hands! I think that other shows, such as the wonderful Louise Blackwell’s in the Cabaret Festival have a full band, so definitely a fuller sound. We hope to grow our instrument section in future. 

Georgia in Avignon

You’ve also performed at the Avignon festival. Tell us a little about that experience. How did the French respond to the show?

The Avignon festival was such a BLAST! It was so very hot when we were there in 2015 and in the ancient city of the Pope’s Palace there is no aircon! Our make-up had melted off by the time we’d arrived at the venue.


I’d never seen such a huge gathering of a celebration of the arts. Something like 30 countries were represented, I think we were the only Australians! We did 13 shows. We were very smitten with all the marionette shows.


They were not all French people as the festival attracts people worldwide. However, they were mostly francophones. The audiences engaged with our show in an unexpected way. The show we presented was our first one Georgia with a G (based on many songs from “Liza with a Z”) and told my own story of musical influence and growing up gay.


Australian audiences had found it very funny and endearing, but the Avignon audiences may have missed some of the comedy in translation. Some wondered why I was telling my story given I’m nobody legendary. We found out later, that culturally, the French don’t expect a show all about somebody who is effectively “nobody” on the world stage. Perhaps I should have done “Evita!” Always learning…..


They did love us though and could not really understand that I was both Australian, lived in Australia and spoke French! We made many friends in Avignon and beyond.


Why should people come see your show at the Cabaret Fringe this year?

The Cabaret Fringe will be such a fabulous time for people to get out to live performance that is intimate, sassy, exciting. Cabaret is such a gem of an artform. Something wonderful always happens in a Cabaret space together – it is intimate and daring.


Under the Paris Sky is on at two fantastic venues, so take your pick:

  • the Domain Theatre, Marion Cultural Centre – modern and spacious; and
  • Star Theatres in Hilton – nostalgic and cosy. 


We offer Under the Paris Sky to entertain you – to marinate you in the sensuality of French chanson, to move you and make you laugh….but mostly to uplift you and leave you with music in your heart. It received 5 croissants from Matilda Marseillaise – don’t miss it!

We thank Georgia Darcy for this interview.

Under the Paris Sky - Georgia Darcy


WHAT: Under the Paris Sky at Adelaide Cabaret Fringe Festival


Thursday 9 June 7:30pm Marion Cultural Centre

Friday 10 June 7:30pm Star Theatres

Saturday 11 June 3:00pm Star Theatres

HOW: Purchase your tickets via this link:



The show will also be performed at The Butterfly Club in Melbourne in August.



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Montmartre! Rendezvous in Paris in Adelaide next weekend

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Nikki Nouveau is a singer of French chanson who is bringing her new show Montmartre! Rendezvous in Paris to Adelaide for the Cabaret Fringe Festival next weekend. We had a chat to Nikki about the show, French music and more.

Montmartre! Rendezvous in Paris

Bonjour Nikki, you’re bringing your show Montmartre! Rendezvous in Paris to Adelaide for the Cabaret Fringe Festival. Could you please tell us a little about that show? What can audiences expect?

The show is an evocative musical soirée set in Montmartre, Paris at a time when artists and painters, such as Salvador Dali, Picasso and Toulouse Lautrec thrived in a world of creativity, innovation, art and romance. It is a time of bohemian life narrated by a spirit travelling through time that takes the audience on a thought-provoking, inspiring and nostalgic journey through the most beautiful moment in the story of Montmartre.


Which French artists /eras will feature in this show? Will there be any of your original music?

The production is loosely based in the late 1800s to the early 1900s with the musical soundscape traversing eras. The iconic music of Edith Piaf, Cole Porter, Serge Gainsbourg, Joe Dassin, Jacques Brel and Erik Satie feature in the show, along with original compositions La Rue Pigalle (Nouveau/Upward), Absinthe Tango (Nouveau/Thorn) and Champagne (Nouveau). Sung in French and English with live musical accompaniment by Adelaide piano virtuoso David McEvoy.


How long have you been singing?

I trained as a classical singer in opera and my first public performance was singing ‘Vilia‘ from the operetta ‘0‘ in a small church at the age of 17.

My singing has taken me on a diverse musical adventure of original song writing and performing a variety of vocal styles, such as musical theatre, cabaret, jazz and French chanson.


You studied at the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA), Australian Musical Theatre Academy and MASQUE National Institute of Performing Arts. What made you decide to pursue these studies and a career in music?

I was always interested in music and the arts from a very young age. It wasn’t a path that ran in my family nor was encouraged. My Greek parents were conservative and wanted me to earn a good living with a professional career such as accounting. So, I chose two paths – finance and performance. I completed an MBA in business and became a chartered accountant, a career that helped me through the darkness of the pandemic, faced by many artists.


But my passion has always been music and acting. I feel creatively fulfilled with every production I write and perform. In fact, I could not imagine my life without this artistic expression.

Montmartre! Rendezvous in ParisAlso, how have these studies informed your show writing and performance?

I love characterisation and bringing elements of theatre into my shows. My performance studies have helped me to build interesting concepts and write engaging scripts that connect with audiences. I understand the importance of constant practice and skill development, as this is absolutely essential to delivering polished, quality entertainment. My business and finance studies have assisted in creating realistic show budgets, problem-solving, business development and marketing.


What attracted you to French music and made you decide to write shows around it?

‘La vie en rose’ was the song that first captivated me. The melody is so rich and beautiful that even when sung acapella it still holds strong. My love affair with French culture started at the tender age of twelve when I sat down for my first French class in high school and continued throughout my studies in university, where I completed a Bachelor of Arts in French language.


Although I have always been drawn to all things French, I am more of a Franco-fanatic than a Francophile. Honestly, I do not know exactly where this fascination comes from. In fact, during the long Melbourne lockdowns I wrote my third French-themed show so that I could explore the source of my Franco fascination.


The show entitled ‘Paris Nocturne’ is my love letter to Paris and a musical celebration of the women of France: Edith Piaf, Josephine Baker, Dalida, Brigitte Bardot, Coco Chanel, Colette, Madame de Pompadour, Josephine Bonaparte and the infamous Marie Antoinette. These women all have one thing in common: they created what I like to think of as the ‘Paris Phenomenon’. Their influence helped shape an unparalleled society of beauty, femininity, love, sex, art, literature, music, culture and style. And it is this phenomenon that I have always been drawn to.


Montmartre! Rendezvous in ParisAdelaide audiences may have also seen you in quite a different Burlesque Assassin – is that a purely burlesque show? Do you still do burlesque?

‘Burlesque Assassin’ was my very first cabaret production. It enjoyed a sold-out three-show season at Nexus Theatre during Adelaide Fringe 2011. It was predominantly a burlesque show but also featured singing with an original live music band, as well as dance, aerial theatre and num-chuks. It wasn’t a conscious decision to exclude burlesque in my shows going forward, it just kind of happened as I focused more on cabaret singing and storytelling.


You’ve performed in New York City, Edinburgh, Berlin and throughout Australia. Were these performances all of French chanson? Did audiences react differently in different countries?

Not all of my performances have been strictly French chanson. I did not find that audiences reacted too differently in the countries that I toured.


In Edinburgh, I enjoyed a sold-out five-show season in 2012 as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe performing a burlesque-themed show titled ‘Bordello Blues’ singing songs of Marlene Dietrich, Nina Simone and of course, Edith Piaf (she features in most of my shows!).


My Berlin performance titled ‘Piaf and Dietrich’ was centred around the life-long friendship forged between Edith Piaf and Marlene Dietrich since their initial meeting in a New York City ladies’ bathroom in 1948. The musical repertoire included songs shared by both legends as well as Berlin cabaret classics.

You sing Piaf’s songs in a way that is very much your own style – how would you describe your singing style?

Piaf’s vocal signature is easily identifiable with her warm, distinctive tremolo tone which was as big as she was small. Like Piaf, I am a petite lady with deep emotive expression and vocal projection but my style is described as a mix of classical, clean overtones and delicate textures.


You regularly perform your show No Regrets: The Edith Piaf Story in Melbourne. When did you create the show and what made you decide to write a show about Edith Piaf?

The success of ‘No Regrets’ really took me by surprise. I was inspired to write the show in 2015 after reading Piaf’s incredible biography ‘No Regrets: The Life of Edith Piaf’ by Carolyn Burke. I was so very drawn to Piaf and her story. I felt as though I knew her. The show was created in two months and premiered in early 2016 at an intimate Melbourne vaudeville theatre for a three-show season. Following the success of the short season run, the venue asked me to return: the show was performed 40 times in 18 months. I then took the show on the road all around Australia. I currently perform ‘No Regrets: The Edith Piaf Story’ regularly at Paris Cat Jazz Club in Melbourne and The Vanguard in Sydney, as well as other special venues and spaces.


What’s your favourite Edith Piaf song?

My favourite Piaf song is one of her more obscure pieces: Mon Legionnaire, written by Marguerite Monnot and Raymond Asso. I love the story and melodic changes. It is a song about a woman’s longing for an American soldier, whose name she does not know, and with whom she has a brief one-night affair as she chants “Il m’a aimé toute la nuit, mon legionnaire” (my legionnaire loved me all through the night). When Piaf first sung this song in 1937, she was only 22, and it was quite controversial as the lyrics and theme were considered risqué and daring.


What’s your favourite French song?

I absolutely adore the song Paroles, Paroles by the incredibly talented French singer and actress, Dalida. She was born in Egypt to Italian parents and is one of my greatest inspirations, singing in eleven languages. Much like Piaf, she had a hugely successful career but her personal life was riddled with immense tragedy and heartache. She is considered one of the most popular female singers of all time in France. Unfortunately, she is not so well known here in Australia.


Why should audiences come to see Montmartre! Rendezvous in Paris at Cabaret Fringe?

Montmartre! Rendezvous In Paris’ presents an authentic retelling of the history of bohemian life in Montmartre where I lived for several months to complete my research, interview locals and visit well known establishments such as Le Chat Noir, Moulin Rouge, Le Lapin Agile, Museum of Montmartre and Dali Paris Museum. The storytelling aspect of the performance evokes emotions of nostalgia, wonderment, love and sadness using elements of music, theatre and dance, that I hope will resonate in the heart of audiences long after the show.


Will you be touring this show after Adelaide?

The show premiered in late 2019 just before COVID hit and so touring plans have been on hold until now. I am currently in discussion with venues and theatres to tour the show around metro and regional art centres of Australia.


We thank Nikki Nouveau for this interview and look forward to seeing Montmartre Rendezvous in Paris in Adelaide next weekend.



WHAT: Montmartre! Rendezvous in Paris, a cabaret show by Nikki Nouveau

WHERE: Star Theatres, 143 Sir Donald Bradman Drive, HILTON

WHEN: 7:30pm on Friday 3 and Saturday 4 June

HOW: Purchase your tickets via the Adelaide Cabaret Fringe Festival website:



What’s your favourite place in Montmartre?

Montmartre Rendezvous in Paris


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