Mich En Scene: Madame &amp; Songs Of Jacques Brel, Spiegel Tent <!-- none onestar twostar threestar fourstar fivestar -->

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The Independent Culture

Marlene Dietrich once trod the boards of the Spiegel Tent, a hand-sewn hall of mirrors dating back to the 1920s and currently nestling amid the fairy-lit trees of George Square Gardens. The accomplished Belgian chanteuse Micheline Van Hautem returns to Edinburgh with the Jacques Brel songs she has made her own, along with a new show, Madame. This tribute to popular divas - described by Van Hautem as cabarock'n'roll - gives her the opportunity to be as velvet-toned as Dietrich, as poignant as Edith Piaf and as prettily playful as Björk.

Frederik Caelen, her collaborator in her ensemble, Mich en Scène, is a brilliant accordionist, if a slightly obtrusive pianist. He should not, however, be encouraged to sing. To have Caelen crooning the first lines of Cole Porter's "Miss Otis Regrets" at the top of the show is a misjudgement. A robust Piaf number, "Padam, padam", warms up the audience, coolly unengaged in the now necessarily smoke-free setting, so inappropriate for a 1930s-style cabaret.

Van Hautem is at her best in the Piaf, "L'Accordéonist" and "Sous le ciel de Paris" both beautifully performed. There's wit, too, in "He had it coming" from Chicago, and an intensity in Dietrich's "Johnny, Wenn du Geburtstag hast". Once she has got over her jetlag and smoothed out her intros, she'll surely sparkle like the diamonds she sings about.

Spiegel Tent, George Square Gardens (0131-667 8940), to 16 August, except 13

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