If you’ve read this far scroll straight to the bottom of the page, click the URL and book tickets for Robyn Archer: An Australian Songbook. Okay, you’re back.  You are about to experience one of the most entertaining and informative nights of your life.

If you’re of a certain age you will remember Robyn’s iconic Menstruation Blues but, you probably already have tickets.  For those who don’t know er – you are in for one helluva treat, Roby Archer is definitely not all about secret women’s business.  Robyn and her ah-maz-ing musicians are about having fun, poking fun and reminding us why being Australia is fun.

First, musicians – because they deserve to be celebrated first: and in alphabetical order (they’re all equally deserving) George Butrumlis is the accordion maestro—Black Sorrows—enough said?  Cameron Goodall plays all things strummy and has a performance list that belies his young young looks; Enio Pozzebon jams on the keyboards and a percussion thing.  Brill the lot of you! One song in particular (not gonna give anything away) was a hoot due to your musical Greek chorus, oh yes they all sing too.

Robyn is of course the superlative entertainer;  she intros each song with a clever potted history that adds a frisson to the lyrics.  She offers personal anecdotes (who wouldn’t love to know Robyn’s mum?) and, more generally, are fond reminders of times past and even possibly educating for the younger audience members. God that last bit sounds boring, but believe me it’s not.  Musically, she sweeps us from Celticy sea shanties, through the bluesy Sydney Streets, First Nations narratives, to a wry rendition of Julia Gillard’s speech.  There is a musical style for every palate. The ‘final’ song is a tour de force.

Of all, the one song that I remember first is the poignant one about a tree –I’m deliberately avoiding naming songs in case each night is different. There’s not much Robyn doesn’t know about Australian music. Her Lola Montez story tapped into a fun research project of mine;  Lola’s infamous spider dance consisted of her performing a jig (she was no dancer) raising her skirts very very high and, as she wore flesh coloured tights, it looked as if she was naked and rumour has it that for more select audiences she was.  Saucy minx – just like Robyn.  So my tip is, take a notebook and pen and jot down the names of other artists who collaborated and inspired Robyn, for you to create your own Aussie songsbook.

An Australian Songbook is a hymn to our continent and to us. It’s The Castle, The Tracker, The Games; and that’s why it’s hilarious, multi-tonal, shaming, uplifting, parodic, observant, and political—it’s Australia to music.

Robyn Archer: An Australian Songbook


Bille Brown Theatre

28 Montague Street

South Brisbane

Approx 2 hours 20 minutes with 20 minute interval

25 June – 9 July