Written by Martin Crewes and Dale Burridge, Directed by Martin Crewes
Reviewed by Justin Clarke
After nearly 25 years off the stage, Dale Burridge returns with an intimate concert that journeys through the highs and lows of his illustrious career. With Bev Kennedy on piano and Mark Szeto on double bass, audiences were offered a glimpse into the many stories that float inside Burridge’s head as he belted numbers from Tim Rice, through to Pasek and Paul, Andrew Lloyd Webber and even Cole Porter.
With a whisp of haze floating over an aqua blue hue of the Hayes Theatre, Burridge emerged from the shadows like the true performer he is. At first it seemed as though this was just a concert piece with Burridge at the helm, until this was abruptly thrown out the window to transcend into Burridge questioning what he is even doing on the stage. It’s a sharp turn that lays the foundation for an overarching story with the thematic concerns of being at a crossroad in life – which road is the one best travelled? Burridge connected this same question to the crossroads we find ourselves at as a society, before promptly reflecting on those he found himself at throughout his entire career.
Offering nuance and charisma, Burridge’s deep and precise storytelling draws you in a warm enveloping glow as you are invited to take this journey with him. There’s much to be said about Burridge’s unique voice. The strength and tenacity in which he juggles the long list of songs that weave in and out of his life is breathtaking to say the least. The intimacy of the Hayes was perfect for this performance, bringing us closer to every note – truly a musical theatre lover’s delight
Director Martin Crewes enhances Burridge’s rich stories with motifs along the way to weave an intricate tale. Lyrics from Harold Arlen’s ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ were repeated to constantly draw us back Burridge’s dreams of performing.
From his first role as an understudy and German Stormtrooper in The Sound of Music through to his abysmally embarrassing audition for Starlight Express in the West End, Burridge’s humility is refreshing. There’s something so unique about hearing a performer with such a depth of experience as Burridge share, not only their successes, but also their rockiest of times.
If there’s one thing that Burridge wanted us leaving with at the end of the standing ovation, it’s this – he is back and has more to offer now than he ever did
The centre piece of this tale focused on the instant joys of being the first Australian to play Raoul Vicomte de Chagny in the premier Australian production of Phantom of the Opera. The audience were treated to a gorgeously played piece of Lloyd Webber’s infamous overture by Kennedy and Szeto. Then as quickly as the success came, Burridge steered us towards his sudden drop from the role as the production moved to Sydney – I was left wondering why, but we were no nearer an answer to that as Burridge was.
This performance was played with such honesty that Burridge was left an “emotional wreck” afterwards – his words. It’s not often that we see this exploration of a performer’s life in an intimate setting, and it’s exactly this that gave it power.
If there’s one thing that Burridge wanted us leaving with at the end of the standing ovation, it’s this – he is back and has more to offer now than he ever did. As Burridge said, he’ll be performing until the day he dies. Retirement? What even is that?
Dale Burridge: At the Crossroads was performed at the Hayes Theatre from Friday 22nd – Sunday 24th April 2022. For more information and to sign up to newsletters, visit www.atthecrossroads.com.au
To see the rest of the 2022 season at the Hayes Theatre, visit their website here.
Written by Martin Crewes and Dale Burridge
Directed by Martin Crewes
Musical Arrangements by Lindsay Partridge and Bev Kennedy
Musical Direction by Bev Kennedy
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