Michael Griffiths is Madonna

Michael Griffiths In Vogue - Songs by Madonna Cabaret Soiree 29-31 August 2013 (2)EDITWhen singer Michael Griffiths, who recently appeared in ‘Jersey Boys’, sat down with Dean Bryant, the man behind Trevor Ashley’s ‘Liza on an E’ show, to brainstorm ideas for a cabaret show it didn’t take them long to come up with an idea.

“I very quickly thought of Madonna because it’s a good body of work,” says Griffiths, “I said ‘let’s do Madonna but let’s do them [the songs] in respect to the stories that they tell.’”

Griffiths’ credits local performer Nick Christo for inspiring the tone of the show. A few years ago Christo performed a tribute to Frances Faye where he took on the persona of the cabaret performer without doing a full impersonation. It’s a technique that Griffiths uses to great effect, he is Madonna. “I’m not dressing like her, or looking like her” says Griffiths, “the audience take a leap of faith”.

Griffith explains that everything in the show comes from Madonna, whether the source is a song, a newspaper story or an interview. “A real philosophy behind the show is, as much as it’s fun and it’s entertaining, it’s also a song about giving Madonna credit as a songwriter, which is something that is never discussed”.

Noting that Madonna has written songs on all of her twelve albums, Griffiths’ nominates the under appreciated ‘American Life’ as one album full of interesting songs. Narrowing down the singers massive catalogue to a select number of tunes was a challenge for the team admits Griffiths, saying that as gay men nearing forty – they knew them all.

“We do the obvious ones of course, if people come to a Madonna show they want to hear ‘Like a Prayer’, they want to hear ‘Express Yourself’, and ‘Vogue’, you can’t not do these songs. We often give them a context though that maybe you are not used to,” explains the performer.

One example of that is the song ‘Cry Baby’ which is used to share a tabloid story about Madonna insisting her husband Guy Ritchie have an adult circumcision. “Who can say if that’s true,” says Griffiths, “but it was in the media for while, so we do ‘Cry Baby’ as a cake walk honky-tonk number and we change the lyrics to tell that story, it makes it a show for grown-ups”.

Since devising the show a few years ago the show has been a huge success at the Edinburgh Festival and has toured around the world, it’s finally making its debut in Perth this month.

‘In Vogue – The Songs of Madonna’ is on downstairs at The Maj from Thursday 29 August – Saturday 31 August.

Tickets available through Ticketek here

Graeme Watson

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