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an evening with bernadette robinson

The wonderful Bernadette Robinson
The wonderful Bernadette Robinson

Ultimately the litmus test for the worth of any performance is the answer given to this question, posed after it, to audience members: “Are you glad you saw it?” In the case of Bernadette Robinson’s show at the Slide Lounge in Sydney, the answer would be a resounding-“Yes!”

Certainly there were a few minor faults. For example, at odd times, for whatever reason, her words were hard to understand, the song she sang for an encore was poorly chosen in that it hardly matched the fame of the songs that preceded it, and the show started half an hour late with no apology being given.

However saying that is to be curmudgeonly. In truth, nothing could dim the quality of her voice and the various ways she put it to use.

Her voice is amazing. It is clear, powerful, warm and has a great range. She can, and does, turn it to singing opera, jazz, blues and popular music at will and with consummate ease. She can, and does, effortlessly change herself from a diva to a torch singer and back to a diva.

In doing this, her acting skills match her vocal ability. Her impressions of Billie Holiday, Patsy Cline and Judy Garland are admirable. Her comic talents are well honed as well, the highlights of her performance being the singing of “I could have danced all night” as it would have been sung by no less than Barbara Streisand, Dolly Parton, Maria Callas, and Shirley Bassey, and showing how Julie Andrews would have sung to a disco beat, both of which are bitingly funny.

To boot, she is a polished entertainer. She was not only at ease on stage, only a metre from the audience, but clearly was enjoying herself. Her choice of songs was perfectly in tune with the audience’s tastes and there was variety in her material. Her back up pianist, Paul Noonan, not only enhanced the delivery of her singing, but was a talent in his own right.

In short, judging by the ovation that came at the end of Bernadette Robinson’s performance, everyone who came to see her was very, very glad that they had.



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