And So to Exeter...!

The show plays at the Bike Shed Theatre in Exeter  from Tuesday 1st – Saturday 5th March and we are all very excited a the prospect of working in such an amazing, unique venue!  We are continuing to fine-tune the show and have been overwhelmed by the fantastic feedback from audiences in Poole:

“The whole story…acting/facial expressions and music was absolutely brilliant…you covered the transition from Edith Piaf “hauntings” to a strong sense of self discovery, beautifully…including very current and important issues around relationships, domestic violence and alcohol…and the music…yummy!….What gripped me most was the fantastic strong beginning…the two characters portrayed beautifully and the “look” we got from Jonathan as he left the stage and turned…snarling into the light from under his hat! It’s a truly beautiful play.”

“Atmospheric, thought provoking, great songs/music. A good Friday night!  Best wishes for the rest of the tour.”

“Congratulations!  Your singing is quite amazing, and the Piaf stuff was superbly done – you really roll your rs.  I began thinking I should have brought my whole French group along – but then you went into your own songs – well I quess you wrote them – fantastic lyrics – well done, well done.”

Thank you so much guys!

Romano & I have been invited to perform on Devon’s Phonic FM Classical Journeys show on Monday 28th February at 12.00pm so tune in if you can. It’s on 106.8FM.

Keep coming back to find out more about how the Devon audiences enjoy The Accordionist and about the inspiration behind the show.


Thanks for the great reviews

Thanks for the great reviews!


Thanks to all who have sent us their reviews of The Accordionist – so glad you enjoyed the show!  Here are a selection and check out our Facebook page for some fabulous photos taken by James Marshall:

“Listeners to Tuesday’s ‘Classical Journey’ will remember the special treat we enjoyed at the end of the show.  Romano Viazzani brought his very impressive and beautiful Beltrami accordion into the studio to accompany Bethany Jameson in two Edith Piaf songs – and two written by Bethany – arranged for accordion and voice by Romano.

In keeping with Tuesday’s theme of ‘tango’ they started with Bethany’s ‘Tango for One’.  Then we enjoyed  ’La Foule’ (written by Michel Rivegauche and Angel Cabral for Edith Piaf).  ’I've bought a brand new dress’ was another of Bethany’s more modern compositions and ‘Milord’ (written by Georges Moustaki and Margueritte Monnot for Edith Piaf) finished off the show in style.
Starting on Tuesday night we were able to enjoy all of those songs – and a dozen more – sung live in the basement of the ‘Bikeshed’ in Fore Street Exeter.
The songs are linked by the rather tragic story of a fictional Edith Piaf tribute singer, Jacqueline Lacroix, who escapes her husband (and accordion accompanist) Jonathan and rebuilds her act with a mysterious character we know only as ‘The Accordonist’ (played by Romano Viazzani).  The underlying story of Jacqueline Lacroix’ lovelife and battle with alcohol addiction reflects the sad story of Edith Piaf herself.
The venue – the crude brickwork auditorium of the Bikeshed basement – and the performance by Bethany and Romano, combined with very skilled lighting, created a very convincing environment for these wonderful nostalgic songs.  Romano fooled us all, starting on Tuesday morning, by staying in the background and saying very little.  On stage he remains mute, responding to Bethany’s lines with just a raised eyebrow or shake of the head.  Just when it seems he is going to be accompanist only, he bursts into life and surprises us all with beautifully delivered lines of his own.  You have to see the play to find out how and when this happens.
The accordion playing is deliciously moving throughout, from the set pieces to Romano’s improvisations, which double as ‘dialogue’ when Romano is in mute mode.  The opening number is played on the 1955 ‘Fisarmoniche Maga Ercole’ accordion of Romano’s father, while all the other pieces are played on the much bigger and very impressive ‘Beltrami’.
Bethany’s singing is sensuously erotic with gorgeous French diction and a subtle overlay of romantic tragedy.  Close your eyes and the sultry voice performing the original French numbers could really be Edith herself – filtered through the fictional character of Jacqueline Lacroix.  The final numbers, with Bethany sheathed in gold lamé flirtatiously accosting audience members, completes the ‘French cabaret’ feel of the show.
There are two more opprortunies to see this outstanding show in Exeter before it moves to the New End Theatre in Hamstead (for a run which has been extended to three weeks since their people saw the show at the Lighthouse in Poole).   An opportunity not to be missed.”
by Luch Càise-Dearg

“Billed as ‘a story of desire, drink and dogged optimism’, The Accordionist has Piaf at its heart, and elements of the narrative could have been lifted from The Little Sparrow’s own life. Bethany Jameson is Jacqueline, a Piaf tribute singer returning to performing after a long break, but still dragging a entire dressing room of darkness and memories with her. Romano Viazzani is the eponymous accordionist, who has links with Jacqueline from the past but a willingness to sieze the chance for an alternative future.

Built entirely around songs made famous by Piaf, as well as new songs written by the cast and director, Andrew Morton, the show provides a rare chance to enjoy the wonderfully evocative sound of the accordion, and played by such a virtuoso. Viazzani has an impressive pedigree, and in his hands the instrument becomes a third cast member – sighing its disappointment at thwarted romance; threatening menance with sinister discordance. Jameson’s voice has an authenticity that perfectly complements the emotive qualities of the music. Indeed, written by Jameson and Viazzani, this feels like a very personal show.

The intimate staging recreates the atmosphere of a tiny cafe bar or rehearsal room, the performers so close you can see every emotion as it passes across their faces. At times this felt a little limiting – where’s the glamour! – but I came to realize that this was the point: to see the artists struggling with their demons, fighting their insecurities, is to witness the creative process in action.”

by Devon Life

In a tale of music, passion and despair, Piaf tribute singer Jacqueline Lacroix returns to the stage after a period of enforced silence, alongside a new accordionist with whom she shares a romantic past. Like Piaf, Lacroix possesses a self-destructive streak which continues to stand between her and her career. Every song she sings tells a story which relates to her life and relationship with the accordionist. Ultimately, the two decide to perform fewer Piaf songs and more of their own. With Jameson’s powerful voice, Viazzani’s mesmerizing accordion playing and the profound messages conveyed in their songs, this performance will no doubt captivate any audience and leave them wanting more.

by Anne Broom


Setting up a new band

Hi there. I’m an Anglo-French singer/songwriter and cabaret performer and I’m getting a band together. I am looking for a double bass player at the moment but interested to hear from drummers, guitarists, violinists or viola players, and any other instrument you think could create an innovative sound. We already have piano and accordion. We’re looking for experienced musicians who can read music (preferably) and happy to experiment and be creative, and sensitive to the band’s overall sound. Willingness to do backing vocals or even the odd duet would be a bonus. We are putting together a band to do a whole range of French and English language classics. I’m keen to start by getting an interesting sound that works, then doing gigs locally but also further afield, and when we’re ready, doing a Cabaret style concert for touring. My style of performing and choice of music is inspired by Camille O’Sullivan, Ute Lemper – so definitely the focus on the music but with a Cabaret edge. The mood I’m looking to create is dark, passionate and dramatic but also fun, sassy and sexy. We’re exploring set lists at the moment and open to ideas. We’re going as wide as Velvet Underground (Sunday Morning), Johny Cash, Pogues, Nick Cave, Tom Waits, Katie Melhua, Doors Jacques Brel, Edith Piaf, Serge Gainsbourg, Leonard Cohen, Mireille Matthieu, Juliette Greco, Paul Weller, Astor Piazzola and other Tango pieces, Lisa Minelli & the Petshop Boys, Sarah Vaughn and other great Jazz/Swing ladies. (What ever lola wants), possibly even Kurt Weil and Brecht (Alabama Song and Mack the Knife). I can meet anyone who is interested during July and 2nd half of August. We’d like to start rehearsing in September.

Bastill Day London

Calling all London friends.  London’s best Bastille Day festival is at Southwark, 14th July – naturellement, from 6pm onwards, and I’ll be singing in the streets, back to Edith Piaf’s roots!  Head for Borough Market, Southwark Cathedral and La Cave restaurant and you won’t miss it. for more info

Upcoming gigs

Upcoming gigs


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