The enchanting Wilton’s Music Hall brings to London the European Premiere of ‘Songs For Nobodies‘.
This one-woman show, originally conceived and played in Australia, consists of five monologues from ‘nobodies’ who relay the time they came into contact with a female music icon. The stories are navigated by the incomparable Bernadette Robinson, a power-house of an actress and singer who slides from character to character with a polished composure. Robinson is a magical vocalist at the core but also an uncanny impressionist and accent expert. Her performance hits its climax during the highly anticipated musical numbers, of which she performs nine including ‘Come Rain or Come Shine’ by Judy Garland, ‘Non, Je ne Regrette Rien’ by Edith Piaf and ‘Strange Fruit’ Billie Holiday.
The set, designed by Justin Nardella, consists of a drinks cabinet with varying beverages assigned to each character, a dressing table, chair, chest of drawers and pile of suitcases. Everything on stage is black, including the actress’ costume, aside from the differing cups the characters sip from. This subtlety in design, amongst other things, is what makes this show the classy affair that it is. The stage faces the audience on a rather steep acute angle which is understandably difficult for the actress to maintain her serenity when she is walking in heels. She manoeuvres the space with professionalism but it can become somewhat distracting.
The three piece band operate fantastically well to compliment the singer. It is a shame they are not utilised in a more grandiose fashion, however their slickness in handling the sudden stops for dialogue is effective and atmospheric.
Overall, this ‘Lady Day’-esque piece is most definitely worth seeing. It celebrates music, women, and history in a tasteful evening which will have your ears ringing with the classics.
Reviewed by Nicole Darrell-Batten