Entertainment Hive 2017

Michael Griffiths embodies Madge and Annie

By Honey B

Michael Griffiths brings his hit cabaret show In Vogue: Songs By Madonna and Sweet Dreams: Songs By Annie Lennox back to Adelaide for the Fringe Festival. The talented performer is an industry stalwart and performed in the Australian cast of Jersey Boys  and he returns from sell-out seasons in New York, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Hobart, Auckland, Perth and most recently Edinburgh Festival where his show earned five stars. Griffiths has performed both shows at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival and he will present these two acclaimed works on alternating nights as he celebrates the lives of these two fabulous female performers. There's no denying Madonna is one of Griffith's favourite performers and the baritone brings the Queen of Pop to life in a beautiful and moving way. Are you looking forward to coming back to Adelaide for the Fringe Festival with not just one but two shows? Absolutely! Both shows are wonderful to perform and they are such strong female performers. You've travelled the world with your Madonna show, how has it evolved since you performed it here for the Cabaret Festival? It has a lot. It's been all around the world and I'm always fine tuning the musical arrangements. There might be a few new jokes at Lady Gaga's expense too! You have performed in Jersey Boys and have recently performed in Hong Kong and London - the career seems to be going well... I've been busy and very lucky these last few years, fingers crossed it continues. It's an exciting time to be involved in cabaret too and Adelaide certainly is the home of it. You portray strong female singers so well - how did you come across this skill? Were Madonna and Annie Lennox in your album collections? They sure were. I grew up idolising and listening to both of them. Annie was always my favourite, she's so strong and mysterious. Madonna would be more fun to dance with at a party though. Are people surprised that you perform with no costume and it's you and a piano and you just transport people? What do audience members say to you after the show? The most common reaction is that audiences are surprised not only that they know every song (often every lyric!) but just how well they stand up at the piano, always the marker of a good song. I think the lack of impersonation is only strange right at the beginning but once we get it out of the way it's all about the stories and the music. Tell me what you love about Madonna's music. When she's firing on all cylinders it's pop perfection. Who hasn't danced to Vogue or sung along with Like A Prayer? These are classic songs that will be around forever. What is your favourite Madonna song to perform and why? Which one do you just love listening to - your guilty pleasure! My favourite to perform is Express Yourself. In the show we deconstruct it to demonstrate pop song structure and how to write a winner. And it's so infectious, I often have audiences who can't resist singing along Is Madonna still in vogue, or is there a changing of the guard with Miley Cyrus? Is it just me or does Madonna seem tame compared to Cyrus? Funny how perceptions change! I'll get into trouble with this one. I do think Madonna is in the autumn of her career and certainly my show concentrates on her earlier work. However, I wouldn't be surprised if there's still a few more hits to come -   she might do like Cher and release her biggest ever single in her 50s, that'd be neat! Do you keep discovering new things about Madonna and if so what? The most extraordinary thing about her is she never stops and doesn't let age weary her. Her tour last year put her on top as the world's highest paid entertainer, pretty impressive for a lady who many critics say is "past it''. How much do you enjoy coming home and what do you love to do when you are back in Adelaide?   I love the space, it's a bigger sky in Adelaide somehow and I can't wait to hit the beaches again. I also love seeing family and friends, it always feels like home. In Vogue: Songs By Madonna/Sweet Dreams: Songs By Annie Lennox featuring Michael Griffiths (shows alternate nightly), Garden of Unearthly Delights, Le Cascadeur, Rundle Park, February 14 to March 16. Bookings: Fringetix 1300 621 255
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