WORDS: Dave Bradley, Arts Reviewer
The New-York-residing Rizo is widely-described as “a cross between Edith Piaf and Freddie Mercury”, and when she took to the stage at the Banquet Room she soon demonstrated why, alternately soaring sweetly through gorgeous high notes and then belting out bangers like a beautiful beast.
First appearing resplendent in a (supposedly) duck-feather coat, a yellow pantsuit, Rita-Hayworth-esque silver-sequined gloves and a big tiara, Rizo later went through a bunch of costume changes onstage (live, shall we say), and offered funny patter and philosophical talk in between songs that channeled (to varying degrees) Cole Porter, Barbra Streisand, The Carpenters, Talking Heads and Willy Wonka. But many were reinterpretations of classics or her own cool compositions: when she first discussed her scary experiences during the pandemic, she suddenly tore into a self-penned “Jungian love song”.
After a few tunes and some insight into her Jewish heritage and political views (pro-choice, pro-equal-pay-for-women, pro-arts-funding, pro-sex-work, pro-Pride, pro-love), Rizo donned a “gothic raven muppet costume” and moved through the audience for a few slow dances, easing into a gentle version of (They Long To Be) Close To You, which eventually morphed into a power ballad.
However, all this loveliness did have a hard edge, at times, as she recounted the experience of being in New York during COVID, and how she escaped with her four-year-old son to “Amanda F***ing Palmer’s” stuck-in-Australia place, and wondered if she’d ever work or sing again. She kept on saying what a dark time it was for all of us, and how we’re social creatures and seriously need emotional connection, and what a terrible modern plague loneliness is.
And she was right. Fabulously so.
We love you Rizo!!!
Photo credit: Claudio Raschella
Adelaide Cabaret Festival
9 – 24 June 2023