This Is Cabaret rating ★★★★☆
Having become a mother since her last visit to Soho Theatre, Lady Rizo has a brand new shebang and she’s here to tell us all about it with little in the way of sentiment or shyness: “it was the first time I’d had a penis inside me for nine months – and they’re never that tiny.”
If you’re the kind that winces at your own baby pics, have some sympathy for Lady Rizo’s son Tennyson. Multiplied tells the story of his life thus far from conception through to birth without any of the usual sugar coating associated with personal projects.
Backed by a trio on drums, piano and guitar, Lady Rizo ploughs her way through a playlist of quirkily arranged covers and a barrage of biographical anecdotes about her parents and her new life. The New York chanteuse kicks off with Betty Hutton’s It’s All So Quiet (the same song popularised by Bjork in 1995) which lyrically and musically perfectly captures the ups and downs of coping with newborns. Her banter may be nervy in places but her singing has never been finer especially on a barnstorming Baby It’s You. A modicum of direct audience participation and some eye-catching costume changes add some neat cabaret touches to what is in the main a solid songbook outing.
So, why the four stars? There are a couple of self-indulgent covers including the incongruous Bowie finale number plus some of the humour falls flatter than vinyl but there are also times when Multiplied becomes a truly magical and special experience. At two different points, one partway through the show and the other towards the end, Lady Rizo elevates proceedings to a whole new emotional plateau and connects the audience at a visceral level with the experience of pregnancy and motherhood. Like baby vomit on a white dress, it is moments like these that provide memories which both stand out and stick around.
Lady Rizo continues at Soho Theatre until 26 March. More information can be found on the venue’s website.
Read our interview with Lady Rizo: “Alec Baldwin Is Exactly How You Would Imagine Him To Be“