Australian entertainer Debra Byrne will perform her first solo Sydney stage show in more than 20 years, Ripe, at the Factory Theatre on November 29.

The performer, currently appearing in musical Mary Poppins as the Bird Woman, told the Star Observer she’d jumped at the chance to put together the show.

“The opportunity to sing songs without being dressed in rags and covered in pigeon poop was too good to pass up,” she laughed. “I need to be able to express myself as a performer in this way, singing songs I’ve chosen. And songs that people might not expect from me — I’m singing Fix You by Coldplay, which I love so much.”

While the show is something of a retrospective of Byrne’s career to date, she said she was more than happy to cherrypick the tunes that still resonated.

“I’m not singing [1975 debut single] He’s A Rebel,” she said. “There comes a point when I do stop, and that’s in the ’80s. I’ve never enjoyed singing pop songs — it’s just something I don’t like. I’ve always been more drawn to songs that tell a story.

“When I came out of Young Talent Time, I’d be singing in RSL clubs and having to perform the current pop tunes. I didn’t enjoy it at all, but I hadn’t established who I was.

“Now, I’ve established my musical identity, and I perform with musicians I know and trust, I always look forward to doing a show.”

INFO: Debra Byrne in Ripe, Factory Theatre, November 29. www.factorytheatre.com.au

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