I HAVE to admit, I had scarcely heard of Christine Bovill and I assumed a show called Paris, featuring French songs would mean that she herself was French!, writes our Theatre critic Kerry Black.

How wrong I was, Christine is a Glasgow chanteuse who has made these wonderful songs her own.

After years of seeing singers backed by massive sound systems, it was so refreshing to see someone performing live accompanied only by two incredible musicians, Michael Brawley on the grand piano and Charlie Stewart on bass and fiddle. (Charlie won BBC Traditional Folk Musician last year and is just about to graduate from the Conservatoire).

The Queen’s Hall, in Edinburgh, is the perfect venue for smaller more intimate shows with its fabulous acoustics and unique arrangement of horseshoe shaped pews. Even better they had filled the floor with candlelit tables and chairs representing the French café atmosphere of her songs and folk were even able to sup wine as she sang.

Bovill is famed for her Piaf renditions, but this show took us through a catalogue of famous French songs by stars such as Jacques Brel and Charles Aznavour, many of which were hits all over the world in English. Who knew that “Let It Be Me” by the Everly Brothers started life as a huge hit for French singer songwriter Gilbert Becaud?

Christine has a wonderful throaty voice and her haunting tales took us dancing up the steps of Montmartre and through the seedy bars of Bertolt Brecht’s 1930’s Berlin. She punctuated the evening with tales of her own life, telling how a gift of an old Edith Piaf LP, took her from a French hating teenager to becoming a French teacher and eventually travelling the world singing French songs!

Christine interprets each song with such passion, telling the story behind each of the lyrics before she sings, you can hear the whisper of the moonlight in her voice as she sings of heartbreak and remorse, in both French and English.

The evening ended with the bestselling song to have ever started life as a French hit – “My Way” which then segued perfectly into Piaf’s most famous anthem, “No Regrets/Je Ne Regrette Rien!”

What a fabulous evening! Even better as we left, Christine was in the bar to meet everyone.

Bovill will be returning to Edinburgh for the Fringe and I will definitely be going back!