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