Lady Rizo. Musical Direction Yair Evnine. Space Theatre. Adelaide Festival Centre. Adelaide Cabaret Festival. June 17-19 2015
Reviewed by Peter Wilkins
|Lady Rizo . Photo by Lilac Scarf- Brochure|
She’s brash. She’s brazen and she’s sensational. Lady Rizo brings her sexy, edgy, gutsy brand of New York cabaret and cheeky irreverent comedy to the Adelaide Cabaret Festival. The girl from Oregon and Princess cruises to Alaska turns on a powerhouse performance of original songs of love and freedom and mish mashed versions of classic numbers from the great American songbook, such as Cole Porter’s soulful, doleful, painful Love For Sale. Wild and wanton, her voice tears through the air, at times terrifyingly primeval, at others alluringly beguiling, taunting convention, and teasing with a sensual gaze or slinky touch of burlesque.
Pregnant with child, Lady Rizo flaunts her newly shaped figure, making the most of an audience member’s awkward help to haul her onto the piano for a torch song rendition of Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer’s ballad for the 21st. century, I Google You. Another unsuspecting audience member volunteers, with a cheerful “Bye Honey” to his partner, to help Rizo change behind the coloured screen in a shadow display of disrobement and sexual frivolity. Kevin is a happy choice. Not everyone would so willingly reveal how they lost their virginity. But it’s all in good fun before the stunning chanteuse appears in a spangled white gown.
When she sings, the roof lifts with the sheer power of her voice. But in an instant, it is interrupted by another humourous anecdote of the trip to the eighties in the Intercontinental Hotel’s décor, the Dali Llama’s blessing of the wombats in the hotel foyer, the staring ovations of bucket list octogenarians on luxury cruises and her passion for meat pies. It’s all fun banter, culminating in a final blessing of the audience and a communal group hum to the Bee Gees To Love Somebody. An angel in white, Lady Rizo, bathed in a spot, leaves the Space to the gentle hum of love, a possible reminder of her childhood and her Hippie parents. Bathed in an aura of healing, the audience applauds the departing spirit and, unescorted, Lady Rizo leaves the theatre.
Unescorted is an anthem to love, the love for her unborn child, the love for her music and the unbridled passion of her song and the love for her first original happy love song. Wild she may well be, rebellious and fierce, independent and strong ,but one with a lot of love to give, laughter to evoke and the full throttled talent to enterLady Rizotain. I would have preferred less chat, less audience banter and more unbroken song by a singer with the voice to rip and tear through the air and a band under the direction of Yair Evnine to bring her unique brand of cabaret to town. But then, the comedienne is sister to the chanteuse, and in Unescorted Lady Rizo will wow an audience in any way she wants, wild and wicked and with a lot of love to give.