cabaret: michael griffiths - in vogue

adelaide cabaret festival - michael griffiths - in vogue: songs by madonnaA minor complaint before I begin... possibly the only thing worse than having drunk middle aged women in the audience of a Cabaret Festival show is having drunk middle aged women and drunk middle aged homosexuals.

I'm just saying... they're annoying, loud and obnoxious...

Okay... moving on.

You can keep your Gagas and your Beyoncé and even your Kylies... because I'm a gay of a certain age and went through my formative years during the height of the Material Girl, Madonna was always my diva. And In Vogue: Songs By Madonna as performed by Michael Griffiths was both homage, parody and love letter to Madge.

In a lot of ways this show reminded me of Nick Christo's show from a couple of years ago. And a tiny bit of Kim Smith's show from last year... but that may also have been because it was the same venue.

Like Nick's show, Michael performs as someone else (in this case, the one and only Madonna), but without accents, wigs or drag paraphernalia and singing in his own style. In essence it was just Michael, a piano, a cup of tea and the spirit of the Material Girl.

It also made me realise how beautiful some of the lyrics to Madonna's music are. Okay, some of the lyrics are completely asinine... but others are beautiful.

The show itself was something of a slow burn... at the beginning I wasn't quite sure about the performance and the between song banter. But as the show went along it just got better and better and by the end he had completely won me over.

And part of that is purely down to how great Michael is as an entertainer... even the occasional "heckle" from the overly enthusiastic audience couldn't phase him. I'm not sure how great a piano player he is though... even though he only acknowledged one bum note during the show, I think there were actually a few that snuck under the radar. But it never particularly bothered me... the performance was strong enough to carry through the minor mistakes.

The banter between songs also turned into a definite highlight... it was very dry and often very witty, and I did wonder whether some of it actually came from interviews or direct quotes... basically Madonna's actual words. It felt like that, but that could have just been the brilliance of the show.

Interestingly I can almost see Madonna doing the same kind of thing, if her whole career went completely to pieces and she decided to go in a different direction... just Madonna, travelling around, singing acoustic versions of her songs... it could work.

There was also a special guest appearance by Justin Timberlake. Well, in the same way that Michael is Madonna, JT was played by fellow Cabaret Festival star Josie Lane... and I think she was supposed to join him for Madonna and JT's Four Minutes song, however instead they performed another song which for the life of me I can't remember (sorry, it's been a very busy day).

But speaking of Madonna's songs, all the classics were there... from the eponymous Vogue, pretty much through all of her albums and styles. There were a few songs that I kind of missed... specifically Rain and Bad Girl, but I think since they're pretty much ballads already they wouldn't have been as effective to turn them into cabaret versions.

All in all though, a show that gave me a big fat nostalgic happy.

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