BWW Review: PUT THE BLAME ON MAME Puts Willow Sizer's Name in the Game at Chapel Off Chapel
Willow Sizer takes you right back into the presence of scintillating forties diva songstresses, all the way down to the shivers along your upper arms. Sitting spellbound in the Loft at Chapel of Chapel, an uncontainable crowd were transported back to the times of undulating figures and captivating stylings. Sizer's cabaret show, Put the Blame on Mame is a genuine and charming education on her upbringing discovering her legitimately impressive talents under the guiding hand of blueprints set down my masterminds like Eartha Kitt, Jane Russell, Marilyn Monroe and Rita Hayworth. The show was so good, this reviewer questioned whether they had lost their wits completely, the kind of platitudes it was engineering in his ordinarily critical mind, completely disarmed by Sizer's singing and sensuality evocative of everything those incredible women brought into our collective consciousness.
If Sizer manages to hold firm to her unique skills for vocal nuance, embolden her self-proclaimed broadness against the undoubted pressures of the industry on emerging Australian performers, then there can be no doubt she is a star on the rise. In Put the Blame on Mame, she demonstrated an impressive tonal control that gave away a much deeper knowledge of her instrument and her performative strengths than her on-stage persona would give away. This is the making of a durable figure in our artistic arsenal. Instead of chasing the big notes and trilling runs we're all well and truly sick of since the persistence of blind followers of The Voice's modelling, Sizer runs her notes like fingernails on the nape of your neck, like the gentle circumferencing of the inside of a pina colada glass with a swizzle stick.
Numbers like Let's Do It (Let's Fall in Love) hook right from the outset. Big Jane was another favourite that demonstrated Sizer's ability to keep an audience enraptured with a flick of the eyes or that smile like a loosed arrow. After You Get What You Want...was particularly poignant toward Sizer's threading through of messages about beauty and self-esteem, steady womanhood and self-possession. My personal favourite, her mastery of Two Sleepy People was chilling in all the good ways, and I could have gladly heard that all over again. Lucky for me it does get a reprise. After which, the entire audience ovated prematurely. Anecdotes of her country upbringing, and the kinds of resilience it bred, that was flourished by the glitz and gregariousness of women she watched on bargain store DVD interluded the songs, and were thoroughly charming.
Sizer's stage presence was commanding, and carried the insignia of The Ingenues and stars she emoted to pin precision. Every little movement was carried off with camp and offhandedness, but this is a woman in complete command; unquestionably one to watch. Here's hoping she brings it back in future for a touch longer than a weekend.