Loft at A Club Adelaide
Until 16 Feb 2019

Review by John Wells

Presented at the 2019 Adelaide Fringe Festival

The late Christopher Hitchens said, “Everyone has a book inside them, which is exactly where I think it should, in most cases, remain”. Hitch’s edict should be applied to what is now a ubiquitous Fringe sub-genre – the Edith Piaf tribute show, notable for its earnest delivery and warbling, and sometimes wavering tunefulness.

John Gabriel Koladziej brings his show “Johnny En Rose” to Adelaide for a two-night engagement after successful seasons in his native US. Koladziej is relaxed and amiable. He sings well enough, and some of his banter connects nicely with the audience. There is strong accompaniment from the accordion player. The highlights are “Padam” and “L’accordioniste”. But the production feels underprepared and lacks polish and precision. Koladziej rarely gets to the emotional heart of the song. More thought and preparation in the spoken text, and more sensitive engagement with the lyrical content would have resulted in a tighter and more emotionally precise show. Koladziej touches on personal stories that suggest deeper reflection would be interesting and rewarding, but there is a veneer of superficiality.

This is for die-hard Piaf fans only.

Rating: 2.5 stars (out of 5)