March, 15, 2013
The famous Spiegeltent is packed on this balmy summer evening. The audience is mostly old and grey, stuffed into every nook and cranny. The house lights dim, the piano and double bass fill the space with melody, as the chanteuse steps into the spotlight and sings a suite of songs, mostly about love and loss, mostly drawn from the repertoire of Edith Piaf.
Caroline Nin is a consummate performer, a master of the art of cabaret, and an exquisite interpreter of the little sparrow’s songbook. She prefaces each number with evocative explications of the French lyrics. She expertly delivers these mini dramatic monologues, which are so much more than literal translations of songs, to set the scene, and create a context for each number for those who do not speak French.
She’s sexy, sassy and supremely confident. Her accompanists are nothing less than brilliant, totally in tune with their mistress, they don’t miss a beat. They know when to hold back, when to pause, and when to put the hammer down. Nin sings most of the best known Piaf tunes — La Vien Rose, Je Ne Regrette Rien, Padam, Mon Dieu — and airs a few lesser known gems for the aficionados.
Nin channels Piaf’s spirit without being a slavish imitator, or a cheap impersonator. And she has the most gorgeous accent — she speaks impeccable English with a chic, Gallic grace. What’s not to like?