Julian Bray writes: With a thrust stage, at Peterboroughs' Key Theatre, and an auditorium barely one third full **, you would have thought that Eve Loiseau would have a major problem on her hands. But despite a couple of off notes from her musical duo (violin and accordion) at the very start of the performance, within seconds aided by an excellent multi media screen presentation, an intelligent lighting plot, plus a few simple props, the lucky audience was magically transported in time, back to post war Paris and the steamier side of life along the Place Pigalle.
This was the brutal training ground of the tiny Edith Piaf, resigned to a life of cleaning cafe tables, tuning to the bottle as her only means of escape, the daughter of a street entertainer. Her early life was hard but as a form of escape she would sing, drink, take on numerous lovers, and sometimes drink some more to forget - those lovers. She was however discovered, and rapidly shot to fame and fortune.
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Married twice, her great love was to a professional boxer who when travelling to see her but was killed in a plane crash. She never really got over this tragic event, and it contributed to her physical decline and death at the early age of 47. That in turn was nearly 50 years ago.
This delightful UK Touring production really does celebrate the music of the legendary French chanteuse, Edith Piaf and truly deserved a House full notice to be posted... Whilst Piaf was unique, singer Eve Loiseau's inspired pitch and tone, plus her exquisite French accent perfectly captures the essence of the ‘Little Sparrow’. Eve Loiseau even naturally replicates the body language of Piaf, and in in one magical sequence virtually lip syncs and moves with the stage wide early black and while mute image projected BEHIND her!
A tight well written, dramatic sympathetic narrative acts as a linking signpost, the show includes all of Piaf's most famous and most loved songs. Including La Vie en Rose, Je ne regrette Rien, Autumn Leaves, Sous le Ciel de Paris, La Foule, Milord, L'Accordéoniste, L'hymne amour, Padam Padam, and Mon Dieu. This is a touring production, and for those who missed it, other chances to enjoy the live experience are still available elsewhere in the UK.
** the small audience probably not helped by VIVAcity leaving the stars name [Eve Loiseau] off the marketing blurb in the latest issue Number 2 VIVA (Page 20) and the TNT delivered (several same addressed and wrapped) copies only hitting the doormat on Monday March 4th, a day following the event. Curiously the label bearing a return address of "Development and Alumini Office, University of Birmingham Edgbaston B15 .... you really could not make this all up!
VIVAcity Executive Summary and Overview
Read the full 20 gushing pages here : http://democracy.peterborough.gov.uk/mgConvert2PDF.aspx?ID=13750
The next five years is a story with two themes. The first is one of business as usual. Given
the nature of our work this is not surprising. The day to day work of Vivacity remains
unchanged- lending almost 1 million items through our libraries; teaching 1500 children a
week to swim; providing 1 million people the opportunity to take part in sport; approaching
100,000 people learning about their local heritage and 55,000 theatre tickets sold each year.
The second theme is one of change brought about by opportunities. Most significantly:
Development of Hampton Leisure Facilities - It is probable that the management of two new
leisure facilities will be offered to Vivacity in the summer of 2013. This will generate fantastic
new opportunities for people to take part and increase our turnover dramatically and hence
make a significant contribution to our central support costs. This must be balanced by the
knowledge that it will bring tangible risks- the business model is primarily based on the selling
of gym memberships in other words a non- fixed income. It is crucial that we approach the
opportunity presented by these facilities with business focus rather than being attracted by the
opportunity of growth for its own sake. If these projects move forward they will become the
main focus of effort in 2013 and 2014.
Must Farm Finds - The long term future for the Must Farm find is far from clear. What is
known is that Flag Fen offers up a medium and perhaps longer term opportunity for the
preservation and presentation of these fantastic artefacts. This high profile project while not
yet fully scoped will be a key area of work in 2013 and beyond.
The Key Theatre - 40 years on and still growing– The transformation of this facility will
continue with an increased focus on both the commercial (the bar and catering) and artistic
offer. The picture over the next 2 years will be more activity happening more often. Radical
change will be brought in to ensure the building is ‘alive’ and is truly the cultural hub of the
There are also two areas of focus where work started last year but where more focus is
Enabling Others - Supporting other organisations to better deliver their contribution to sports,
the arts and heritage in the City. Our work here is patchy and not yet part of our way of
working. This is an organisational change that will take some time to be brought to the
forefront of our work. We will maintain an enabling fund (by injecting a proportion of the
money we earn into initiatives driven by others) but more importantly we will work with staff to
help them understand the importance of this way of working.
Organisational Development – Supporting, developing and managing our people
Cultural Values- in 2011 we started a programme of work based around customer care, this
drew on many of our values however other than this Vivacity has not strongly driven its core
value statement that was developed in some haste at its inception. A programme of work will
be rolled out from mid 2013 to re-test these principles in a way that is inclusive to all.
Vivacity is a not for profit organisation that delivers cultural and leisure services for the people
of and visitors to Peterborough. It is in the business of enriching people’s lives. Vivacity does
this by working in partnership with a number of organisations and stakeholders. The most
important of these partnerships is with Peterborough City Council and together we will:
…deliver and enable inspiring cultural and leisure activities to the residents of and
visitors to Peterborough.
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