Cabaret Festival

Cabaret Festival Review: Mother Archer’s Cabaret for Dark Times

Brilliant performance, forging ahead regardless.


Presented by Adelaide Cabaret Festival

Reviewed 12 June 2021

Robyn Archer is at her stunning best in this cabaret performance for dark times. Those familiar with Archer’s work will appreciate her many references – both direct and indirect – to the works of Brecht. We are treated to songs and poetry from this author, with familiar themes from his greatest play Mother Courage resonating in this time of pandemic and uncertainty.

This uncertainty was manifest when her accordion player, George Butrumlis, seemed unlikely to receive Covid permits and tests in time to travel here from Melbourne. Local performer Gareth Chin was lined up to take George’s place when instead he had to fill in for pianist, Michael Morley, who was too ill to travel. One would never have known Chin had only 48 hours to prepare as he and Butrumlis were both on top form.

In just over an hour, Archer covered an incredible range of musical styles from many eras. In very different ways, she can make a country and western song or words from a seventeen century cardinal set to music by Handel, both speak of the pain of lost love and being apart, something which far too many people are experiencing in our currently fractured world.

In spite of the dark times, Archer’s characteristic humour shines through her performance. I especially enjoyed her ditty about the sacking of Gough Whitlam in 1975. Her comments about turning 73 next week were accompanied by a very rude word and gesture and as this show was my birthday treat, and I’m only 5 years younger than her, I can only agree!

Reviewed by Jan Kershaw

Venue:  Dunstan Playhouse
Season:  June 12-14 5pm
Duration:  70 mins
Tickets:  $69, $59 Conc $54
Bookings:  Masks required

Rating out of 5: 5


[adrotate banner="159"]
To Top