Reviewer: Christopher Owen
Suzi Quatro is a rock and roll icon. Approaching 50 years in the performing industry, she here gives an honest and frank look and listen into her life and career from the highs, to the very lows and then back up to the highs in her stripped back show ‘Unzipped’. She fills you in on what it is like to be her, spanning her entire career from touring with her sisters in the Pleasure Seekers, to sold out Australian tours, number one records, her fear of flying to her radio 2 presenting career via the West End.
The show is a mix of multimedia story telling: with snippets of hits played via the stereo (not performed live), video clips of TV appearances and pictures of past style choices (often garishly bright) interspersed with her reflective storytelling style, it often leaves the audience in silence, where a more relaxed, informal style would encourage laughter at the appropriate moments. This is not to say the evening isn’t enjoyable – it wholly is, but it often feels like a book reading or lecture more than a cabaret or concert. In the main body of the show, Suzi doesn’t actually sing that many songs. When she does, they are often snippets or shortened versions of numbers which at times proves frustrating as you want to see her do what she does best,and It is when Suzi takes the mic in her hand, that the audience see the sparkle in her eye and the love of her art that she so obviously has. Be it a song from Annie Get Your Gun, or her cover of All Shook Up, her skill is absolutely undeniable – and Elvis was right when he said her version is the best since his own. In fact, Elvis features more than one would expect and was obvious inspiration for her career from an early age. From her association with leather to her bluesy rocky voice there is a true rock and roll spirit within her and her ‘Elvis Epiphanies’ obviously had profound effect, apparent in the way she speaks about him.
It is her finale and encore where the audience are treated to the full blown Quatro experience – leather jumpsuit and all, and it is certainly worth waiting for. It’s like the touch paper has been lit and she explodes the audience into a frenzy they have obviously been waiting for. For a lady of 60+, Suzi Quatro looks and sounds incredible, with a rasp and energy as fresh as a 16 year old and a command of a rock and roll audience that many an act wish they had. In a venue such as the Matcham room, this rock and roll sound breathes fresh life into this classy cabaret room and it totally works. You learn a lot from and about Suzi Quatro in Unzipped, and it proves to be a very interesting evening if you are a fan or not. And yes, for those wondering – her bum is still perfect.