This was my first time seeing Liza (with a Z) in the flesh, and I felt quite virginal amongst the exuberantly camp men, single women and older couples who form her devoted audience. Cilla (with a C) was sitting a few rows down from me. Everyone I spoke to promised that I was in for quite a treat, although one older woman added, pragmatically, “if she can still do it at her age.”
I am happy to report that Minnelli can, indeed, still do at her age (66). Although exactly what she does is hard to define. She interprets melodramatic show tunes and other old standards with an almost hammy commitment to theatrical emotional veracity, the intensity of her vocal peppered with melodramatic gestures. Between songs she larks about, her persona one part wide-eyed child, one part wry old dame, peppering remarks with a hoarse, squeaky laugh. But as soon as the music starts up, she is absolutely in the moment and on song.
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