Edinburgh Fringe 2012
Lady Rizzo is a New York cabaret singer who thrives on glitter and glamour, has the voice of Lady Gaga, and the aplomb of Liz Minelli. She’s bold, ballsy, mischevious, and a talented comedienne.
If you crossed Lady Gaga with Meow Meow, wrapped it up in Jewish American Princess, and added an extra dash of glitter and glamour, you’d probably get pretty close to Lady Rizzo. Yes, there are a few ‘Lady’ monikers around at the moment, a few at this Fringe alone, but Rizzo puts her stamp on this performance like the true professional she is. She hails from New York via California hippie commune and professes to have mended her communal ways via the power of glitter.
She gives it socks right from the word go in Assembly’s Bosco Theatre Tent and knocks it out of the park on with ‘If I Were Your Woman’ as an opening number with a gutsy, right-from-the-gonads voice that would give any Broadway singer a run for their money but has the ballsy depth of a soul singer to boot. She interacts with the audience with an ease that endears from the beginning of the show and we are putty in her hands. She has a gift few performers have, where her interaction with the audience is both kind and filled with comic edge in the same breath, never insulting and always coming from a place of playfulness and generosity. There’s never a tone of superiority in her performance and more than a flavour of self-deprecation, a winning combination.
With songs from Piaf to Hendrix, Rizzo’s comic timing and well-practiced patter is slick, clean, but leaves room for spontaneity, whether it’s incorporating the fireworks from the Tattoo, the rain pelting off the roof of the little Bosco Tent, or eliciting stories from the audience behind a screen while she changes costume. It’s always tricky to find new and interesting ways to cover costume changes and she does it with aplomb.
Choice of venue is so important for a show; the wrong atmosphere can kill the magic of a show, if it ends up in a hotel conference room somewhere. The Bosco Tent, with its history and charm, lent atmosphere and intimacy that suited the show down to the ground. It just about contained Rizzo’s energy while feeling as if she might burst its confines on any of those high, belted-out notes.
What really seals the deal with Lady Rizzo is she holds nothing back and makes one feel as if this is closing night and she’s going to give it everything she’s got. She’s a breath of fresh air, a consummate diva in the best sense of the word, and a singer who knows how to make a song her own. And she is a talented song writer as well, with strong, tight arrangements from the band. It’s a rare thing to hear cabaret artists singing their own original material and it only serves to stick yet another feather in her already plumed hat of performance kudos.
It’s comedy, it’s brilliant ball-breaking singing, it’s mischievous, bold hanky panky that leaves you wishing in a fleeting moment that Fringe shows were just a few minutes longer than the requisite one-hour slot. Leave ‘em wanting more, that’s what they say, and in Rizzo’s case it couldn’t be more true. Catch her if you can and treat yourself to a night of the best cabaret I’ve seen this year at the Fringe.