Can the life of this extraordinary woman really be summed up in 90 minutes?

It’s a tall order. The Brighton Fringe production of Pam Gems' play about Edith Piaf, first produced by the RSC 36 years ago, attempts to chart the life of the French singer – with varying degrees of success.

Samantha Spurgin is excellent as the foul-mouthed songstress with an innate loneliness that can only be quenched (albeit temporarily) by men.

Her early life on the streets, her relationships and appetite for alcohol are all covered in a slightly frenetic first half, in which we also see death of her lover, boxer Marcel Cerdan, as a turning point in her life, although the play gives us little time to appreciate his significance.

The production would undoubtedly have benefitted from a more intimate setting, and I much preferred the songs that were performed in French rather than English, but it’s an enjoyable 90 minutes.

In the second half, Spurgin IS Piaf. Pushing away those that are closest to her, boozing and popping pills, the actress perfectly captures the fragility and isolation of the ‘little sparrow’ as she careers towards her tragically premature death.

And I defy anyone not to get shivers down their spine during the final song.

Three stars