FESTIVAL FEATURES | Lady Rizo
in an ironic way: I asked her how she felt returning as a Fringe veteran, which amused her, since this will only be her fourth year. ‘Are you a veteran after four years?’ she
‘I’m well versed in the art of mass seduction’ people in a square mile that are diving into performance, it’s just unlike any other place in the world that I’ve been.’
asks, but I explain that the answer is yes. True, there are many acts that have appeared more regularly, but few who can match Lady Rizo’s notoriety. In just three previous visits she has established herself as the belle of the cabaret scene, impressing reviewers and audiences alike. ‘I don’t mean to compare myself to a war veteran, but I guess it is like being in a war. You feel embattled and brazen, and you have to keep really intense hours.’
Brazen is the right word to describe this performer. She is brimming with coni dence, and has the power to connect with audiences. ‘I am well versed in the art of mass seduction,’ she admits. ‘I like to make UK audiences especially nervous. They resist me at i rst, and then they give in.’ She draws them in with personal tales, original songs, and the occasional rearranged cover. Her mashup of Pixies’ ‘Where is My Mind?’ and Judy Garland’s ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ is particularly memorable, for instance, but she’s equally unafraid to tackle Beyoncé’s ‘Halo’, or Nirvana’s ‘Lithium’. And the people? Well, they love it. Of course, it helps that Fringe audiences seem to enjoy performance as much as she does.
‘I think it’s like when you see people at sporting events, and it’s so surreal for them to all be there for their team, and that sport. Well, shows are my sport. That’s what I’m passionate about. To have so many
12 THE LIST FESTIVAL 18–29 Aug 2016
Her perspective on performance remains as passionate as ever, but her outlook on life has been impacted by the birth of her son. Now, she is more keen than ever to view the world with childlike purity, which informs her art in a positive way.
‘I guess the brass tacks of my life as an artist has changed, in that I always have to think about this extra appendage, or this joyful little person that I have to be around. But as far as a larger, more expansive look at it, I think that as an artist what’s really exciting is the gift of returning to infant eyes. It means just “being” in the way that babies just “be”. ‘You know, I’m very childish,’ she adds. ‘I remember when I was eight years old and I was at an all-you-can-eat buffet. I ate so much and then I lay down in the booth and I had this thought: “I wonder if I’ll ever be too old or too adult to not lay down in a booth after an all-you-can- eat buffet?”. I haven’t gotten there yet. I am blatantly using the child to remind myself to always lay down in a booth.’
Maybe that’s what audiences can take away from Lady Rizo’s show: a reminder that life is art, art is life, and that no matter how old we get, there’s always time to see a cabaret show, grab life by the cheeks, and every once in a while, let our inner child lie down in the booth.
Lady Rizo: Multiplied, Assembly Checkpoint, 623 3030, until 28 Aug (not 22), 6.55pm, £14–£15 (£12–£13).