5 stars

After years of ensemble and understudying roles in professional musicals, Dale Burridge’s big break into the entertainment industry came in 1990 when he was cast as Raoul in the Australian premiere of Phantom of the Opera. Starring alongside Anthony Warlow and Marina Prior, Dale Burridge was thrust into the spotlight, but while Warlow and Prior have remained as household names and continued to enjoy leading roles in major productions ever since, Burridge has spent the past 25 years off the stage.

Encouraged to return to the stage by the love of his life, Dale Burridge made a very welcome return to the stage in his show At the Crossroads, opening in the Loft at Melbourne’s Chapel Off Chapel.

From the opening number, it was hard not to wonder just where Dale Burridge has been all these years and why it took so long for him to return to the stage. Burridge has a gloriously rich voice and it’s worth the price of the ticket just to hear him sing. But what makes At The Crossroads such an enthralling night at the theatre is the storytelling of Dale Burridge’s personal journey.

Dale Burridge was playing Enjolras in the international tour of Les Miserables when he became friends with Martin Crewes, who was playing Marius. Crewes has cowritten a beautiful script telling Burridge’s journey from being a bullied high school kid, to a builder’s apprentice, to a leading man of the stage … and then a very long absence and his triumphant return. The real brilliance in this story telling is the clever intertwining of songs, or excerpts from songs, that not only showcase Burridge’s incredible vocal talent, but assist in the story telling like any good musical should. Everything is perfectly connected and it flows effortlessly. At The Crossroads is so much more than a simple concert performance of songs.

At The Crossroads features well loved songs from musicals such as Phantom Of The Opera, Les Miserables, Man Of La Mancha, Oklahoma, Chess and more, all beautifully crafted under the musical direction of Bev Kennedy. Dale Burridge was accompanied by Lindsay Partridge on piano, who also provided musical arrangements, and Mark Szeto on double bass. It creates a very classy atmosphere.

Under the direction of Martin Crewes, the story flows beautifully from Burridge’s heart. This is HIS story. It’s tender and heartfelt, filled with the highs and lows of being in the entertainment industry. There was a moment I just wanted to give Burridge a big hug and welcome him back to the stage. Indeed, I’m sure the whole audience felt this way as they leapt to their feet to give a resounding standing ovation. At The Crossroad also has plenty of lighter moments that had the audience in fits of laughter. It’s expertly crafted to provide a truly satisfying night of entertainment. The whole show moves at a wonderful pace and I would happily have listened to more of Burridge’s story being unpacked.

At The Crossroads is an elegant and sophisticated performance by one of Australia’s finest leading men of the stage making his very welcome return to the stage. Welcome back Dale Burridge, it’s so nice to have you back where you belong. This was the opening night of an emotional return to the stage for Dale Burridge and I felt privileged to be there to experience this moment. Dale Burridge will tour his show over the next year – this one is definitely worth seeing!

At The Crossroads is currently playing at Chapel Off Chapel before touring to Bathurst (Friday 28th January) and Dubbo (Saturday 29th January) ahead of tours to Sydney, Tasmania and Perth.

For information and tickets for Chapel Off Chapel: https://chapeloffchapel.com.au/show/at-the-crossroads-dale-burridge-in-concert/

 

To information about future performances: https://pages.facebook.com/daleburridgeatthecrossroads/

 

Photographer: Cameron Grant, Parenthesy

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