by Sian Williams.

Lady Rizo is a force unto herself; a mythical wild thing who is set to share a little of her sparkle with our audiences in the 2015 Adelaide Cabaret Festival. A world famous diva who sings in a show which is part burlesque/part comedy, the Australian premiere of Unescorted is a musical exploration of pop songs from every decade with her own arrangements and theatrical additions.

We speak with Lady Rizo and ask whether she is looking forward to returning to Adelaide.

“I love Adelaide. I was last there for the 2013 Cabaret Festival, which was gorgeous. It was also Kate Ceberano’s final year as Artistic Director, so it was a pretty amazing time. I specifically remember the hotel we stayed at because, although I don’t want to name names, and possibly it has been altered since I was there, but it was a lovely hotel in the centre of town; gorgeous décor, very luxurious. Sure, it was a little bit 1984. I mean, I felt like I should have packed more shoulder pads. But the juice bar was amazing. And the Dalai Lama was there. It was pretty spectacular.”

Unfortunately the Dalai Lama isn’t hanging out in Adelaide at the moment. But can you tell us what else you might banter about in your show? Do you have a structured show or do you go with the flow a little?

“It is pretty loose sometimes, to be honest. I can’t tell you about the content of my show per se, because then I would have to kill you. But I can say that I really move with the audience as well as the place I am visiting. You have to be a good listener otherwise you come across as being obnoxious. If there is a little bit of heckling, so goes it. Hey, it may even come from me.

“I have this thing I do sometimes; as in I say the wrong thing on and off the stage. I feel compelled by the saying. ‘You thought it, now say it’. I don’t even know if that’s my own mantra or someone else’s. But is kind of how I live and that can sometimes get me into trouble, personally, or maybe even to do with my show. If you are going to be impactful you are not always going to have 100% understanding. That’s life, across the board.”

So, what do you do when you are home? Where is home?

“I’m in Seattle, currently. I do love the travelling life though. It’s great for the time being, I am not tied down in any particular way so I can go with the seasons, the crowds, the Festivals.”

Your family, naturally a musical background from your parents? Or are you a solo muso for the birthday parties at home?

“I have a hybrid background really. My father played the guitar but I also got a lot of musical influence from my grandfather who played a lot in church – trombone, sitar and other unusual instruments. My family are Jewish, and the Jews are used to having a history of a lot of pain. They sing about it; their music can be quite mournful. And sometimes we as a people may even appear a little dry when perhaps you think we should be happy. But it’s like you need to keep something for yourself, to not appear to happy in case someone might take it away from you.

“Anyway, I certainly got some musical genes from my family but also the Jewish intellectual humour, the wit. Is it witty? I think so. You’ll have to tell me when you see me [laughs].”

Its interesting hearing about your family’s historical background, but what do you think of Australians? You do know we ride kangaroos to school, right?

“Sure thing. I can’t wait to come. Hasn’t the Pope been seen riding a Kangaroo over there? You know, I am really looking forward to working with Barry Humphreys; what an amazing legend. What a thrill and a privilege. It will be an absolute hoot. I’m a really huge fan – of him but also his main character, Dame Edna. She cracks me up.”

Your show is a little mysterious, but that’s part of the allure of Lady Rizo, isn’t it?

“Yes I guess so. Mainly because I don’t want to commit to say I am doing one thing when in fact, on the day I may feel totally different. Naturally we have rehearsed music and set pieces, but a lot of the banter is on the spot, and is a good amount of the show. I just hope people come with an ear to listen, an interest in music and a sense of humour. The rest is easy. It’s a fun show, and I think a very full show, with lots of colour and, certainly, passion. I really love what I do.”

Lady Rizo performs Unescorted at Space Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre, at various times on Wed 17 Jun until Fri 19 Jun.

Book at BASS on 131 246 and Click HERE to purchase your tickets.

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