In this fortnight of the Tay-Tay invasion, it’s vital to remember that for most, it’s tough in the arts. Melanie Gall is typical of those performers on the margins, working hard to make a buck. A French-Canadian opera trained singer based in New York, Gall has relied on Canadian Government subsidies and tours of African countries and the Caribbean to keep herself afloat.

Melanie Gall.

Gall’s Fringe show, Piaf and Brel – The Impossible Concert (one of several she has developed) is a one-woman show that used to be a two-hander until Gall split with her Brel and decided to continue the show herself. As an illustration of the challenges, Gall was handing out the programs to the punters on arrival. She was also in charge of sound and tech and doing the promotion and cross-selling of her other shows.

Gall’s recordings focus on songwriters such as Brel and Gershwin and legendary singers of a bygone era such as Piaf but she’s no mere imitator. She has a light and delightful voice more suited to a Gilbert and Sullivan ingénue than a chanson from the streets. As such, it’s worlds away...