Following her acclaimed sold-out season in London’s West End, Bernadette Robinson returns to Australia for a limited engagement in the hit play Songs For Nobodies at Geelong Arts Centre and Arts Centre Melbourne this December, before heading to Sydney Opera House in January.
First performed 10 years ago, this spellbinding one woman show, is a tour de force of imagined encounters between five mid-20th-century divas, Judy Garland, Patsy Cline, Billie Holiday, Edith Piaf and Maria Callas, and five ordinary women – proving Robinson to be a virtuoso singer, a virtuoso impressionist and a virtuoso actor.
Renowned Australian playwright Joanna Murray-Smith has mined a rich seam of longing, humour and quiet frustration to conjure the alchemic effect these women’s encounters with their musical idols have on their lives – from right there in the moment to their future choices.
Under the direction of Simon Phillips, Robinson switches characters and vocals without a breath, each song choice a glorious homage and celebration, delivered with passion and emotion that few ever come close to. Every audience member intimately feels that her performance is just for them.
“Ever since I sat stunned at a Bernadette Robinson concert not believing my ears, I wanted to create a show for her, something that put her miraculous ability to reincarnate the great singing voices of the past into a rich theatrical context. So I knocked on the obvious door,” said Simon Phillips. “Joanna Murray-Smith’s brilliant talent for channelling not only characters but somehow the spirit of the performer.”
Songs For Nobodies showcases Robinson’s astonishing talent for recreating the great singers of the past. On stage for 90 minutes accompanied by live musicians, her miraculous voice shifts from the smoky blues to a thrilling soprano. With consummate ease, she breathes new life into the five legendary performers and the five ordinary women whose lives were changed by their brush with fame.
A huge success in the West End, with great reviews for Robinson’s performance, and for the show generally, Songs For Nobodies was nominated for the UK’s most prestigious theatre award – an Olivier Award in 2019.
Songs For Nobodies was originally written for Bernadette Robinson by Joanna Murray-Smith on a commission from Simon Phillips as Artistic Director of the Melbourne Theatre Company.
Songs For Nobodies
Drama Theatre – Geelong Arts Centre, 50 Little Malop Street, Geelong
Season: 13 – 15 December 2019
Information and Bookings: www.geelongartscentre.org.au
Fairfax Studio – Arts Centre Melbourne, 100 St Kilda Road, Melbourne
Season: 18 December 2019 – 5 January 2020
Information and Bookings: www.artscentremelbourne.com.au
Playhouse – Sydney Opera House, Bennelong Point, Sydney
Season: 23 January – 2 February 2020
Information and Bookings: www.sydneyoperahouse.com
Image: Bernadette Robinson stars in Songs For Nobodies (supplied)