Review: Lady Rizo: Red, White and Indigo

Come for the songs, stay for the politics

★★★
cabaret review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
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Lady Rizo: Red, White and Indigo
Published 13 Aug 2018

Ask not what America can do for you, ask what Lady Rizo can do for America. The glittering queen of the New York cabaret circuit fills the stage with her deadly sharp wit and eyelashes long enough to kill a man. It’s jukebox politics with a mix of covers and original songs interspersed with Lady Rizo’s qualms and questions about being an American patriot. Red, White and Indigo is her "international apology tour", sparked by the growing horror of the orange baby in the White House.

Rizo’s patriotic concerns are sincere and her breath control rivals Mariah Carey but this show is more diamante than direct action. Her voice has huge range, from Nina Simone to Portishead, building to dramatic crescendos. Lady Rizo embodies a particular brand of cynical glamour – think the acerbity of Joan Crawford on her third martini rather than a purring Marilyn. But the anecdotes that link the numbers are erratic and lack impact. 

The show's lack of political punch is perhaps a victim of Lady Rizo’s spiky sarcasm, the sincerity of her message lost in hilarity and well-timed eye rolls. But it might also be that we are all so exhausted with the daily injustices and oppressions she ticks off her list that it’s going to take more than vodka shots and torch songs to pull us out of this funk.