Lady Rizo: Multiplied
Cabaret diva goes maternal
This article is from 2016.
Although it is clearly designed to be the show's central image, Lady Rizo's moment with her infant child leaves the cabaret star upstaged by a baby. While she sings a lullaby, her son grasps at her, acts cute and steals the scene. Whether this routine is painfully sentimental, emotionally manipulative or an expression of the show's theme of motherhood, it is at least compelling.
Lady Rizo's new set, however, lacks coherence. When she tells meandering anecdotes about her own mother, or her relationship to her new-born, her delivery is hesitant: her own compositions stray into soft-rock power ballads with predictable imagery. Her cover versions are more effective, translating their obsessive desires into maternal anxieties, and the juxtaposition of glamour and parenting lends a sparkle to her final monologue.
Aside from the introduction of a real live baby, there is little surprise in the show. A meandering story about breastfeeding in public, memories of her hippy childhood, an invitation for the audience to enter her womb: Rizo does personalise her material, but the glow of motherhood encourages a sentimentality. Her delivery of the monologues is disappointing for a seasoned performer: she talks about her sleeplessness as a mother, and perhaps this accounts for the pauses, the poor timing of punchlines and the 'ums' that litter her sentences.
It's a solid hour set, but follows a familiar pattern and lacks a consistent energy or focus. Motherhood is discussed, personal problems are presented, but the self-obsessiveness of the diva combines poorly with the optimism of the new mother. Rizo aims to add a new personality to the catalogue of cabaret singers, but this iteration is far from cohesive.
Assembly Checkpoint, until 28 Aug (not 22), 6.55pm, £14–£15 (£12–£13).