Entertainment Hive 2018

Porter & Piaf

Adelaide Festival Theatre, Dunstan Playhouse, Saturday, December 10

Review by Honey B

Michael Griffiths and Michaela Burger are two performers at the top of their games with two beautifully envisioned cabaret shows. Griffiths truly inhabits Cole Porter from the first moments he shuffles on-stage. 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 speaks directly to the audience in an easy and charming manner as he steps back in time to a bygone era. The talented perfromer 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 You’re The Top 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 several witty Adelaide references. It was hard to take your eyes off of Griffiths in this superb and humour-filled tribute. Michaela Burger was equally as enthralling as the iconic Edith Piaf. Taking on the renowned, feisty French performer was certainly no easy task, but the diminutive Burger certainly proved that she was up for the task with a moving, passionate and dramatic turn. Close your eyes and you can hear Piaf, open your eyes and you can see her in Burger. Piaf’s life is riveting and her songs sine as Burger delivers superb classics including La Vie en Rose, Hymne a L’Amour, Padam and Non, Je Ne Regrette to name but a few. Burger was pitch-perfect as she sang many of the songs in French as well as English and she used an acoustic guitar with loop and delay pedals to create such depth in sound. Musical partner/guitarist Greg Wain helped in the telling of the colourful stories of Piaf’s life and the duo was simply breath-taking in this incredible cabaret. The night ended with Griffiths, Burger and Wain performing a few Porter songs including the brilliant Miss Otis Regrets. Two rare and brilliant cabaret shows create a true tour-de-force.
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