INTERVIEW: AMELIA RYAN WILL LIBERATE US THIS FRINGE FESTIVAL

After sell out seasons of Storm in a D Cup, Amelia Ryan is back and she’s setting us all free in the Garden of Unearthly Delights.

The new show is Amelia Ryan is Lady Liberty and it’s set to tackle some big issues Amelia Ryan is Lady Liberty - pic credit Lloyd Harveythrough comedy and song.

Amelia, who grew up on the south coast of NSW, but now calls South Australia home, says she’s keen to get back to Fringe after an absence.

“I didn’t do Fringe in 2015, so I can’t wait to get back into the Garden to perform. I’m in a venue that’s twice the size of the last one, so that’ll be fun. Obviously it increases the pressure somewhat, but it’ll be great to be in a bigger space. I’m also having a band this time, and I say that rather tentatively, because I just got a message from my drummer and guitar player saying they’ve just been booked for the Ghost: The Musical tour, so I had a band. Getting a new band is now on my to-do list,” she laughs.

“I haven’t actually played cabaret with my own band before, so I’m looking forward to that. I’m also looking forward to doing a show that hopefully more people on a wider scale can relate to. I think, with Storm, people could relate to general dysfunction and crashing cars, but stories in Storm like my failed career as a stripper, my gay dad and transgender mum, not everyone can relate to; they’re quite specific.

“But with Lady Liberty, nine out of ten people have been drunk, nine out of ten people have gone on a quest for self improvement, we’ve all asked questions around sexuality, so this new one is a fun, universal show. There’s quite a bit of audience participation as well, which is good. Well, it’s good for me; it might not be good for the audience! It’s interactive and light, and hopefully it’ll leave people feeling entertained and asking some questions of themselves.”

Amelia spoke to us for our 16 for ’16 spectacular, and she told us she moved to Adelaide for love.

“I’m one the many women who have followed a man to Adelaide, it seems. I’ve met a lot of them! I met my partner in New York. I was doing a show there and he was doing an internship at the festival I was performing at and the role they gave him was to produce my show and things got rather unprofessional,” she laughs.

Amelia Ryan is Lady Liberty was inspired by Amelia’s quest to transition from ‘Queen of Calamity’ to ‘Lady of Liberty’, and is the next chapter after her Storm in a D Cup.

“I wrote it early last year, and then I did a couple of development seasons in Melbourne and Wollongong, and then did the Adelaide Cabaret Festival in June, so it’s had a bit of airtime. Storm in a D Cup was so inherently about all the mess, disaster and dysfunction in my life that I’d accumulated over 25 years, so Lady Liberty is the next phase. For anyone who enjoyed Storm in a D Cup and came back, a lot of them said they wanted to know what the next chapter is, but as a cabaret artist, I made the choice where I decided not to make it all about myself because that can be a little bit exhausting,” she says.

“I wanted to make this one a bit broader and make it more about us, than me. Having said that, it still draws on my own stories, but it’s essentially about the quest for liberty, or liberation on the whole, and what that actually means. I think, as we get a bit older we start to ask bigger questions and figure out what makes us happy: is it through meditation or Moët? Is it through monogamy or ménage à trois? Is it through settling down or running wild and free? I look at sexual liberation, social liberation, and I do that through song.”

Using music from the likes of Robin Thicke, Cyndi Lauper and Gilbert and Sullivan, Amelia talks wine and women through song.

“Parodies are what fall out of me most freely, but there’s a few original songs in there. It just feels like maybe I’m being a bit disrespectful to these songs that I do, because Robin Thicke’s ‘Blurred Lines’ is about designer vaginas. I don’t know where it comes from. ‘Time After Time’ is ‘Wine After Wine’ because, is there a greater liberator than a glass or bottle of wine?” she asks.

“I talk about the pressures, most of which are self-imposed, on women to have it all, do it all, and get it done by a certain time. Body image is another thing I tackle, as well as social sexual standards and expectations, and the whole notion of purpose as a woman; I try not to keep it too heavy handed, but it’s still certainly in there. I have a song that references all of my favourite ladies of liberty, which is anyone from Madonna to Gloria Steinem to Maya Angelou; anyone who’s set a precedent in terms of female power and liberation.”

WHAT: AMELIA RYAN IS LADY LIBERTY
WHEN: February 29 to March 13, 2015
WHERE: The Garden of Unearthly Delights – The Factory
HOW MUCH? Tickets $33 full, $28 conc.
Cheap Tuesdays all tix $25

Tickets and further info: www.adelaidefringe.com.au or 1300 621 255 or www.gardenofunearthlydelights.com.au

By Libby Parker

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libby-parker
Libby Parker is a journalist, teacher and life enthusiast.
You can follow her on Twitter at @upsidenews_lib