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Bernadette Robinson's torch songs light up the Fairfax stage
Take a stage, three musicians, an armchair, a bar stool and a microphone, throw in the multi-talented Bernadette Robinson wearing a one-style-fits-all little black dress and you've got seven divas for the price of one. The Show Goes On is Robinson's latest one-woman tour-de-force, showing in the intimate surrounds of the Fairfax Studio in Melbourne's Arts Centre.
There are a number of moments during The Show Goes On when the audience can barely contain itself. The first comes early on in the 80-minute performance when Robinson sings a 'duet' between Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand. She manages to flit between singing styles and mannerisms in a mash-up of 'Get Happy' and 'Happy Days Are Here Again' in a bi-polar tour de force that takes the audience along with her.
Bernadette Robinson in Garland mode - Photographer: Bob King
Robinson's heart-breaking rendition of Edith Piaf's 'Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien' was similarly well-received, as was her spoof of Julie Andrews immediately following it. From the opening line, she managed to channel La Andrews - with echoes of Clare Foy in her role as Queen in The Crown - in a hilariously exaggerated 'I Have Confidence' punctuated by bursts of laughter from the stalls.
Patsy Cline, Shirley Bassey and Maria Callas complete the lineup, each offering a snippet of some lesser known aspect of their lives and a brief overview of their careers before launching into song. Despite a little roughness around the edges, Robinson's portrayal of Callas was a believable insight into what made this difficult woman tick.
The clever use of coloured stage lighting and exits and entrances from the shadows combine to ensure the audience is never in doubt about what's happening on stage. Bernadette Robinson and six of her closest friends sing their hearts out on that stage. The Show Goes On is a captivating night out and runs till March 11.
I adore Bernadette Robinson! Her voice I brilliant! Such range, such variety, such vitality. This woman is a true STAR! Luckily I bought a ticket to see her tomorrow at 2pm! So excited. Bernadette Robinson is fabulous.