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The Accordionist (Exeter - Bike Shed Theatre)

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
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It is early days for Veritie Productions’ debut musical theatre piece The Accordionist, seen at Exeter’s Bike Shed and now heading for London’s New End Theatre.

Bi-lingual Bethany Jameson, known for her authentic interpretations of Edith Piaf’s repertoire, has teamed up with international accordion virtuoso Romano Viazzani to create and act in this two-hander.

With guidance, direction and musical input from operatic stalwart Andrew Morton, I am afraid I expected rather more from the evening.

Jameson is believable as Piaf tribute singer Jacqueline and Viazzani is a superb accordionist but the tale of their previous entanglement and alcoholism is weak and the characters too two-dimensional for the audience to particularly care about them.

This is not helped by the accordionist’s communication through facial expression alone throughout the first half or the very fact of an interval which killed any momentum which may have been building.

With their history, present and future feelings explored through the songs they have written and occasionally those appropriate from Piaf’s backlist, this became a 16-song concert as shown by the audience applauding each piece alongside the canned response.

And with no real conclusion and devoid of atmosphere, it is hard to see beyond the performances of the duo. Perhaps in time the characters will be fleshed out and the potential poignancy fulfilled.


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