In Vogue: Songs by Madonna (Michael Griffiths)
Brisbane Powerhouse, Visy Theatre
September 5 – 7
Singer-pianist Michael Griffiths has returned to Brisbane, via the Edinburgh Fringe festival, with his sparkling “In Vogue: Songs by Madonna”. The unique cabaret show has Griffiths speaking in first person as Madonna (without any costuming or attempted impersonation). Seated at a piano, he chats informally with the audience, delivering clever reminiscence of Madonna’s story.
Griffiths’ charisma is dynamic; from the moment he springs on stage he is captivating. His performance is fabulously camp, which makes it all the more entertaining. The wit of his anecdotal quips about Madonna’s husbands, children and bossy behaviour, make for a night of much laughter, especially in appreciation of reference to Madge’s competition with Lady Gaga as a humorous ongoing theme. (When, on the topic of illegal music downloads ‘she’ simply remarks that if we must steal music, we should do it to Lady Gaga.)
It is the music, however, that provides the framework of this show. Griffiths’ interpretations of Madonna’s songs are morphed into memorable blues and jazz melodies. The ‘unplugged’ arrangements of some of the most iconic songs of the last three decades delight with newly-discovered lyrics. The coverage is comprehensive and includes all the favourites; ‘Vogue’, ‘Material Girl’, ‘Like a Virgin’ and ‘Into the Groove’ are all seamlessly weaved into the storyline. Of particular note is a wonderful deconstruction of ‘Express Yourself,’ in which Griffiths’ musical prowess really shines.
The Brisbane Powerhouse has been advertising shows under the umbrella of ‘trying something different.’ “In Vogue” is something different, but also something very entertaining. Griffiths is solid singer, a skilled pianist and a fierce Material Girl. Indeed, the entire show is virtually flawless in its execution, from comic timing to evocative lighting to capture the mood of each song.
So, ladies with an attitude, fellas that are in the mood, don’t just stand there, let’s get to it…And if you don’t like it….” I’m Madonna, the most famous b*tch on the planet. Shut. Up”.