Can a grown man really suspend your disbelief? And then convince you with his deep baritone that he is in fact the Queen of Pop? Yes.
Michael Griffiths hung up his Jersey Boys hat for the night for a special one-night-only performance, written and directed masterfully by Dean Bryant. The wonderful Civic Wintergarden was the perfect setting for this highly entertaining and incredibly engaging one man cabaret show.
Accompanied by just a grand piano and cleverly coordinated lighting, Griffiths camps it up and takes us on a journey through Madonna’s early musical career and her life as “the most famous bitch in the world”.
He doesn’t need to look the part to be believable as he is absolutely flawless as Madonna. I especially liked the bitter references he makes about being in competition with Lady Gaga.
As soon as Griffiths takes the stage, you quickly forget about the visual contradiction. Everything about his performance – the inflections of his voice, his mannerisms, the occasional mischievous wink – just exudes the spirit of Madonna.
The songs that were featured get given new life with more jazz and blue tones. This really showcased not only Griffiths’ beautiful voice and great range but also impressive command of the piano. The stripped back arrangements also just made each performance feel more personal and heartfelt. His slowed down rendition of Open Your Heart was my favourite of the night.
In between songs, we are provided some insight into life as a growing pop icon, working mother and unabashed active whore. Griffiths reads from a little red book, the lyrical birthplace of soon-to-be-big hits, providing an entertaining monologue that is dripping with sardonic and camp humour.
Every song is weaved in seamlessly with these diary excerpts which open up the songs for fresh interpretation. Like A Virgin becomes symbolic of Madonna’s motherhood, Don’t Cry For Me Argentina humorously represents her attempted foray into Hollywood and Papa Don’t Preach speaks of her failed marriage to Sean Penn.
In Vogue is truly a refreshing and captivating musical experience that celebrates Madonna and reminds us all why she is the Queen of Pop. Michael Griffiths is a gifted chameleon and his effortless performance will have you laughing, singing along and getting to know Madonna in a whole new way. If you weren’t already a Madonna fan when you got there, you will be when you leave.