Love on the Left Bank

Adelaide Cabaret Festival 17 June

Juliette Greco lived through the Nazi occupation on Paris in WWII where her remarkable sixty year long career as a singer and actress began. She became a woman of legends and lovers. 

Last night in the Dunstan Playhouse Louise Blackwell together with the French Set brought this remarkable woman, and the era in which she shone, to life. In a simple setting reflecting a night club in the St Germain-des-Pres  Louise was  the narrator, alternately channelling the singer. This transition worked smoothly; a highly polished and convincing performance.
Dressed in simple black, as was the wont of Juliette Greco, Louise portrayed this remarkable woman.

While credit must be given to Catherine Fitzgerald, who directed the show, the script written by Louise Blackwell was the fruit of much research. She moved seamlessly from narrator to Juliette, both describing incidents in her life, and singing her songs. Sartre had said of Juliette Greco that ‘she had a million poems in her voice’ and we were privileged to hear some of them, especially La Javanaise a song written especially for her by Serge Gainsbourg, and which she sang in all her shows. Louise Blackwell has the perfect voice and delivery for these songs, ranging from sweet seduction to strongly felt emotion.

Much credit must also be given to the musicians. 
Musical director and on piano – Mark Simeon Ferguson, Violin and trombone- Julian Ferraretto, Trumpet – Lazaro Numa, Saxophone and Clarinet- Thomas Pulford, Double Bass – John Aué, Drums – Josh Baldwin.

Their playing was exemplary, but as pleasing was their participation in the action, so that they added through active participation to the overall dramatic effect. Mark Simeon Ferguson’s arrangements of the music was another significant factor, complementing the story as it unfolded. It was a performance that took us back in time to a city which was alive, bohemian, existentialist, and exciting.

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