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Review | It’s A Sin: Songs of Love and Shame

As the Artistic Director of Perth International Cabaret Festival, Michael Griffiths has proven he has a gift for bringing together exceptional storytellers to entertain us at His Majesty’s Theatre.

In It’s A Sin: Songs of Love and Shame, Michael shares his own story. It’s a beautiful tale of love, love for his partner, finding love for himself and of course, his great love for the Pet Shop Boys.

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Opening with the titular It’s A Sin, Michael makes playing the piano while singing appear effortless as he takes us back to his youth. Throughout the evening, Michael reflects on growing up gay in a time where the AIDS crisis and associated stigma had gripped the world. A time where love was inextricable from shame.

Michael is an outstanding raconteur, walking the audience through key milestones in his life, with the tales perfectly portioned and matched to the music of Neil Tennant. He has a remarkably evocative yet easy way of weaving a yarn, transporting the audience directly back to the Hay Street and Rundle Mall of the 80s and 90s.

I was particularly struck by Michael’s vulnerability under the spotlight. He spoke of the fear that being gay meant he could never have a successful career, until he was surprised to learn that his hero – Neil Tennant of the Pet Shop Boys – was gay. When he spoke of the shame attached to his sexuality, it was palpable, and so too did the audience share his joy and relief as he discovered a queer role model who would set him free.

Each step on Michael’s journey is punctuated with hits and lesser known Pet Shop Boys tracks. Accompanied by Dylan Paul on the double bass and Julian Ferraretto on the fiddle, the trio delivered fantastic renditions of Suburbia, Go West, Left To My Own Devices, West End Girls and You Only Tell Me You Love Me When You’re Drunk.

It’s A Sin: Songs of Love and Shame is a fantastically funny, heartfelt and captivating hour of cabaret. Perth audiences are fortunate this great talent from Adelaide once made the decision to pack up his life and go west.

You can catch Michael Griffiths at the Perth International Cabaret Festival Closing Gala on Saturday 22 June. Check out the full program at perthcabaret.com.au

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