top of page
Recent Posts
Follow Us
  • Twitter Basic Black
  • Facebook Basic Black
  • Google+ Basic Black

Review- Bernadette Robinson Divas: a performance without peer

By Paul Kiely


Bernadette Robinson Divas

By Bernadette Robinson

Directed by Simon Phillips

Riverside Theatre Productions

Church Street, Parramatta


Season: 15 – 17 February 2024. Bookings:

               Duration: 90 minutes (No interval)

A quick check of the word ‘Diva’ references women with an outstanding musical ability as well as a demanding persona. Bernadette Robinson Divas certainly showcases ten amazing talents who seemingly meet this definition.

To say Bernadette Robinson Divas is a tribute show would be demeaning. It’s an education. It’s a ninety minute snapshot of the music, life and psyche of women performers who have influenced Robinson’s vocation. Furthermore, it’s a performance without peer.

Bernadette Robinson is no stranger to talent herself. In praising her ten chosen Divas, Robinson highlights her own outstanding vocal range, acting prowess and clever sense of humour. Under the direction of Simon Phillips and with an on-stage three piece band (piano, guitar and drums), Robinson’s performance had the audience in her clutches.

So, who are these distinguished divas of music?

Robinson’s list may be challenged, but these names are a great starting point: Shirley Bassey, Edith Piaf, Miley Cyrus, Maria Callus, Judy Garland, Kate Bush, Karen Carpenter, Dolly Parton, Barbara Streisand, and Amy Winehouse.

Some names familiar, some not – it depends on your own experiences. However, at the end of the show you may overhear patron comments such as “I didn’t know Kate Bush sang that” or “I’ve heard that song before but had no idea who sang it”.

Robinson suffers from ‘multiple-personality order’. Not disorder, because she knows exactly what she’s doing. She walks the stage and wondrously transforms to each new Diva seamlessly. Whether it’s Dolly Parton’s country drawl, Amy Winehouse’s cockney slang or Barbara Streisand’s Brooklyn fast-talking, Robinson captures their demeanour perfectly.

Her song renditions are fabulous. Close your eyes and you’ll feel like you’re in a Vegas ballroom with your favourite Diva. Imagine these offerings: ‘Wrecking Ball’ (Miley Cyrus), ‘Wuthering Heights’ (Kate Bush), ‘Close To You’ (Karen Carpenter) and ‘Diamonds Are Forever’ (Shirley Bassey). I can still hear Edith Piaf singing ‘Non Je Ne Regrette Rien’. Cannot understand a word of French but Robinson’s flow is beautiful.

Robinson also sprinkles her performance with revealing snippets of each Divas highs and lows. Still in character, she converses with the audience, drawing us into her confidence. We learn of Bassey’s daughter’s lake drowning, Carpenter’s battle with dieting disease and Garlands loneliness and addictions.

Still the performance gives more. Memorable quotes by the Divas include: “I’m drawn to songs with story lyrics” (Streisand); “A song is a story but the audience must believe it” (Piaf) and “I don’t give advice but I’ve got a lot of information” (Parton).

Robinson’s version of Garland’s ‘There’s No Business Like Show Business’ could have been the ten Divas signature song. Ten Divas, all confident and strong super performers, each vulnerable in their own ways.

Divas is a great entertaining show to see. No matter what your musical tastes may be, broaden your experience and enjoy Bernadette Robinson Divas wherever you can.


bottom of page