Award-winning cabaret artiste and Adelaide local, Amelia Ryan returns to the Fringe next month with Lady Liberty. I discussed life, comedy, and touring with Ryan this past week.
Ryan explained that inspiration strikes in unlikely places: “Lady Liberty, the title came about a year before the show, I think. I was on a ferry going around the Hudson River to see Manhattan… You know how you have those moments when something sticks in terms of a creative idea. You know, doing Storm in a D Cup for about four years, I was like ‘Well I have to write a new show, create something else’. So I had the title, and then I just booked this venue in Wollongong, so I just literally gave myself a deadline that was governed by people buying tickets to my show that I then had to write… I wouldn’t recommend that [experience].”
She collaborated with Ben Pfeiffer to swiftly create this tongue-in-cheek exploration of what it takes to be a Lady of Liberty in a brave new world of manage a trois and labiaplasty. Lady Liberty showcases Ryan’s wry humour, story-telling talents, and song parodies – including Cyndi Lauper’s Time after Time reimagined as the modern classic Wine after Wine. She will be working with a full band for the first time this Fringe season.
Lady Liberty premiered in 2015 and garnered rave reviews at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival, but Ryan is breathing new life into it before the 2016 season. She explains: “Every [year] I redevelop, take out a song or maybe put in a new one. I think the aim is to have it exactly the way I want it to be by Adelaide. You know, I have Perth Fringe coming up at the end of this month, and by the time it gets to Adelaide it should be the finished product… I did the same with Storm in a D Cup. I think it’s important not to rest on your laurels, as such.”
Ryan draws inspiration from her personal experiences, social observations and a score of comediennes who she describes as “brash, bold, funny women” – such as Amy Poehler and Tina Fey. She believes in humour with a message. “There is a depth and authenticity to what I do, created through lens of comedy,” she explains. There is more to Ryan and her show than the elusive persona of Lady Liberty.
Amelia Ryan is Lady Liberty will play at the Garden of Unearthly Delights, The Factory, from 29th February – 13th March.
Interview by Nicola Woolford.