Entertainment Hive 2020

Michael Griffiths in Cole

Adelaide Cabaret Festival, Banquet Room, Monday, June 8

Review by Honey B

Michael Griffiths inhabits Cole Porter from the first moment he hobbles through the Banquet Room curtains at the Adelaide Festival Centre. Many in the sold out venue did not notice the performer enter, but when they did a round of applause hushed the noisy venue. Griffiths has re-interpreted other musicians' work before including Madonna and Annie Lennox and in this witty and revealing show he again proves to be a wonderful musical chameleon. The Adelaide performer gives the spoilt and rich Porter plenty of charm as he does things in "his own way''. Written by Anna Goldsworthy the script is full of light chit chat, wit and it lays bare Porter's many demons including his sexuality. Griffiths is in his element in this style of show and he effortlessly engages the audience in the intricacies of Porter's captivating story which is full of heady highs and debilitating lows. All the while it was Porter's music and his wife that kept him going and there are so many classic tunes from Night & Day to Under My Skin and Anything Goes. The songs also drive the narrative as the lyrics give more insight into Porter's life as they are put into context in the story. Griffiths and Goldsworthy have also cleverly re-worked a couple of numbers to include Adelaide references and an ingenious nod to the Cabaret Festival and Barry Humphries. Vocally Griffiths shows off his musical chops and he doesn't try to impersonate Porter's more limited range and he is very much at home behind the baby grand. This show is full of charm, humour, wide-ranging emotions and timeless songs. It's a revealing and honest look into a complex, high-flying life in a bygone era.
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