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Pure Piaf. This show is hugely miked and, as if the unnecessary loudness weren't distraction enough, Alex Ryer is in constant movement -- mike visible against her face -- as she turns little circles, gesturing, floats her mantilla-like shawl about her shoulders, walks out into the audience, and at one point sinks to her knees and sobs. The singer has researched Edith Piaf's biography, and the facts she gives are accurate. But the show is repetitive and loosely structured, and the story told without irony or humor and with a terrible self-pity. Ryer can't leave a song alone. She'll start singing one of the great ones -- "Milord," for example -- and then begin talking and talking in her unconvincing French accent until, despite the impeccable playing of her five musicians, all life and integrity has been leached from the number. Presented by the New Denver Civic Theatre through February 25, 721 Santa Fe Drive, 303-309-3773, www.denvercivic.com. Reviewed February 8.

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