Songs for Nobodies

Previewed 7 January 2019, Opened 10 January 2019, Closed 23 February 2019 at the Ambassadors Theatre

Joanna Murray-Smith's play with songs Songs for Nobodies in London starring Bernadette Robinson and featuring songs made famous by Garland, Cline, Holiday, Piaf and Callas

Five legendary performers and the five ordinary women whose lives were changed by their brush with fame.

Starring Bernadette Robinson with three-piece band: Greg Arrowsmith, Matthew Whittington and Oliver Weston. Directed by Simon Phillips with designs by Justin Nardella, lighting by Malcolm Rippeth and sound by Justin Teasdale and Tony Gayle. This production transfers to the West End following a short season at Wilton's Music Hall in east London last year (previewed from 21 March 2018, opened on 26 March 2018 and closed on 7 April 2018).

Joanna Murray Smith's West End theatre credits include Switzerland at the Ambassadors Theatre in 2018, The Female Of The Species at the Vaudeville Theatre in 2008 and Honour at the Wyndham's Theatre in 2006.

When this production opened here at London's Ambassadors Theatre in January 2019, Dominic Maxwell in the Times said that "Bernadette Robinson is a jaw-dropping talent... a virtuoso singer, a virtuoso impressionist and a virtuoso actor... simply staggering. It's a bittersweet treat." Sarah Hemming in the Financial Times praised "Robinson's virtuoso performance," adding that the play "is touchingly, wittily written," and "in Simon Phillips' simple, fluent production... Robinson's terrific, passionate delivery is beautifully supported by the versatile onstage band." Henry Hitchings in the London Evening Standard highlighted how "the show allows Bernadette Robinson to exhibit her talents with a tasteful degree of restraint. But it feels schematic, even if it's shrewd about the ways in which celebrity is melancholy rather than blissful." Dominic Cavendish in the Daily Telegraph wrote that in "this terrific one-woman show... the script, by Joanna Murray-Smith, cuts straight into observations so nakedly wistful that they're almost comical... directed by Simon Phillips, it's spellbinding stuff: the set has minimal fuss, the lighting has maximum impact and the three-piece band is piping hot. Bernadette Robinson works her magic across all 90 minutes."

"Bernadette Robinson, an Australian actress making her West End debut, has been widely hailed in her homeland... Her vocal range is extraordinary, extending from Callas's raw intensity to Holliday's smouldering sensuousness by way of Garland's quivering emotionalism, Piaf's tragic passion and Cline's smoky warble. She is equally skilful in characterising the 'nobodies', with dry wit, deep poignancy and impeccable accents. Playwright Joanna Murray-Smith has fashioned the perfect vehicle for Robinson's talents. Four of the five encounters are fully accomplished vignettes, with only the final one, between Orla the nanny and Callas aboard Onassis's yacht, feeling arbitrary and sketchy... Alone on stage, Robinson brings to life a vivid gallery of characters." The Sunday Express

"Bernadette Robinson, a musical theatre sensation from Australia, is exceptional as she eerily inhabits all five superstars in this one-woman show... Joanna Murray-Smith's 90-minute play isn't particularly interested in the singers themselves. Instead, she frames her five short monologues as a series of encounters between each and an ordinary 'nobody'... Each monologue turns on the idea of celebrity as experienced by those in its glare, and the holy, communicative power of song. Each 'nobody' is briefly transformed and allowed to dream. The problem is that Songs For Nobodies is so conspicuously a vehicle for Robinson's uncanny singing ability that the writing feels secondary to the music. Robinson is a fine actor but she is a spectacular singer, and in most cases it is the chanteuses who leap into life, rather than the nobodies. Still, this is a show that revels in the glory of sublime song, and Robinson delivers that in spades." The Metro

Songs for Nobodies in London at the Ambassadors Theatre previewed from 7 January 2019, opened on 10 January 2019 and closed on 23 February 2019