Lady Rizo (Amelia Zirin-Brown, a Grammy award winning Diva) is guaranteed to energise and entertain those punters starting to feel “Festivaled out” during the final week of the 2013 Adelaide Cabaret Festival. It was a shrewd move on the part of Artistic Director Kate Ceberano to programme this indulgently visceral act for the final two days.
Lady Rizo makes her surprising entrance from the back of the room as the music plays. Singing and slowly making her way through the audience, stopping to sally with (or fondle) members of the audience before finally climbing up on stage to a thunderous ending of ‘If I Were Your Woman’.
Lady Rizo is an interesting mix – part Marilyn Monroe glamour, part Janis Joplin instinctiveness. Whatever it is, it works as a celebration of the authentic cabaret art form. Lady Rizo utilises every weapon in the cabaret arsenal to work the crowd, sexually wooing them (men and women), verbally shooing them and even getting one audience member up on stage to hilariously disclose the how, when, where and who of loosing his virginity while she changes costume (in front of him) behind a revealing Japanese screen.
Lady Rizo’s set list includes cabaret classics, ‘60s rock, original songs and even Nine Inch Nails’ ‘Closer’. It’s hard to pick a highlight as the dynamics of the show changes and turns, until at the beginning of the closing number Lady Rizo is on top of a table in the middle of the room, singing to an ocean of the instant delight she continually elicits from her audience.
Ultimately, it’s like being taken on a brief journey through the senses by a representative of Mother Earth. Tellingly, everyone (including Lady Rizo) left the room with a smile on his or her face.