THE SHOW GOES ON - MELBOURNE
BERNADETTE ROBINSON: THE SHOW GOES ON, at the Fairfax Studio, Arts Centre Melbourne; 20 February-11 March 2018. Photography by Bob King
I have been watching Bernadette Robinson for many years now, from her early Piaf shows in small piano bars to the main stage of Australian theatres and beyond – and she still has what it takes. Her voice hits notes you thought weren’t possible (as Maria Callas) and the deep tones of Patsy Cline. Her stage presence is inviting and strong and her ability to take on the persona and vocal style and range of some of the greats is breathtaking.
In The Show Goes On we see Robinson celebrating the greats from Judy Garland to Edith Piaf, Shirley Bassey to Barbra Streisand, Patsy Cline to Maria Callas and more. It’s not just their voices and intonation she does so well, she gets inside them, we find out dark truths of their lives; but what strikes, in their collective vulnerability, is the need for music in their lives – the need to sing.
Robinson’s vocal agility comes to the fore when she performs a duet: Judy Garland and Barbara Streisand, this is no mean feat; and again Garland and Julie Andrews – it is quite extraordinary.
The show has been artfully directed by co-creator Richard Carroll, with inspirational, sexy and mood changing lighting from Trent Suidgeest. The Fairfax Theatre is perfect for this show with the audience up close and personal as Robinson uses the stage, delineated by lights, perfectly. The fine ensemble musicians, Dean Cooper and Scott Griffiths, are led by musical director and arranger Martine Wengrow.
This show will delight her fans and set the scene for the next crop of devotees. Gorgeous.