Theater: Lucifer's Toy

PIAF by Pam Gems

Affinity is the most potent magic the theater has to offer. When Jason Robards plays Eugene O'Neill or Julie Harris portrays Emily Dickinson, the evening is transfiguring — both radiantly illuminating and deeply moving. That is what is happening on the stage of Broadway's Plymouth Theater, where Jane Lapotaire plays Edith Piaf as if she is being flayed alive and only the lacerated nerve ends glow in the dark like neon.

Lapotaire renders Piaf, the diminutive poet-songstress of the pre-dawn city blues, with matchless psychological fidelity. She gives us Piaf,...

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