Put the Blame on Mame

They might have been music icons of the 1940’s, but the bright lights of Marilyn Munroe, Eartha Kit, Jane Russell, Rita Hayworth and Carmen Miranda certainly haven’t faded since the peak of their fame as Willow Sizer tells her story of these legends in Put the Blame on Mame.


Anyone who yearns for the films and music of yesteryear, those highly dramatic and highly romantic black and white dramas, would find themselves in good company with cabaret performer Willow Sizer. Not only would they have piles of material to keep a conversation going for many hours, but her impersonations of these golden age women are so accurate it is as though they are living and breathing in front of you.

Willow Sizer’s cabaret Put the Blame on Mame tells her own journey to falling in love with the strong women of the 1940’s screen. From the bold and brassy performances of Jane Russell to the tutti frutti Carmen Miranda, each of these women hold a place in Willow’s heart for a different reason. Some are sensual seductresses. Others refuse to give up their spotlight and keep going well into their 50’s.

But the one thing that they all have in common is the challenge it is to bring these women to life live.

Each one is so iconic, so well-known that just the mere mention of Marilyn Munroe will bring her distinctive voice and persona to mind. But this challenge is easily surmounted by Willow who is able to easily mold her performance onto the frames of these film and music greats. Her Marilyn, Jane Russell and Eartha Kit performances are all on point, with a sincerely funny look into the life of Jane Russell through the personal song ‘Big Jane’ which provides some home truths about her life in show business. However the stand out imitation of the night – which surely presents the greatest challenge due to the accent – was her Carmen Miranda singing ‘The Lady in the Tutti Frutti Hat’. It was delivered so expertly that you could almost swear you could hear the crackling of the original LP recording in the background.

Each of these numbers was supported by her tight and easily adaptable jazz trio who easily and seamlessly jumped from the world of Carmen Miranda to the glitz and glamour of the 40’s in songs from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.

These numbers are delivered amongst a narrative of Willow’s own journey into these classic treasures, most of which are reached through highly relatable late-night YouTube spirals or the all-too-familiar Big W DVD bin. While these modern day means may be a little unexpected amongst the music of the 1940’s, they are so true with how we discover these great artists that it is difficult not to relate.

There is no need for any ‘blame’ in Willow Sizer’s cabaret. Only adulation which she received aplenty from the opening night audience.

There is only one more performance of Put The Blame On Mame at Chapel off Chapel tonight at 5pm. For more information, visit www.melbournecabaret.com