Ambassadors Theatre, London – until 23 February 2019
Taking the form of a one-woman show which tells the stories of the unheard meetings with famous performers, Songs For Nobodies is a wonderful display of vocal ability and performance from Bernadette Robinson.
A series of five monologues show the power and effect of celebrity and examine how individual people’s lives can be altered by even a brief, chance encounter. Robinson’s vocal aptitude allows her to create almost uncanny performances of famous singers. A career headed journalist interviews Billie Holiday, a Nottingham librarian recalls her family connection to Edith Piaf and A New York bathroom attendant has an inspiring meeting with Judy Garland.
Each story has a heart, and thanks to Robinson’s performance, they all feel truthful. However, at times Joanna Murray-Smith’s book feels bland. Of course it’s supposed to mirror real life which isn’t all sparkles and boldness but the one-level feel of the stories does lead to an at times, un-engaging piece of theatre.
With the space and Robinson’s abundant talent, it just feels that a little more work on the ‘nobodies’ to give them more well-rounded stories, could create a truly captivating show. The simplicity of the show works well though, with the cabaret vs drama aspect maintaining a good balance and keeping Robinson at the forefront and heart of the whole thing.
Robinson’s talent is undeniable and she is certainly a master of her craft but Songs For Nobodies does a predictable job of showing her off.