In Vogue: Songs by Madonna (4 stars)

This article is from 2013

In Vogue: Songs by Madonna

Madonna revered and redefined, with camp flair, by Australian star Michael Griffiths

The moment Michael Griffiths, the musical theatre star from down Down Under, sashays on stage for his debut performance at the Edinburgh Festival, we are hooked. With a fabulous flourish he seats himself behind the grand piano and launches into Madonna’s ‘Vogue’ before the intimate audience. His pared-down piano accompaniment and impassioned delivery of the material, each with its little adaptations and alterations to fit the scene, creates a warm, comedic cabaret with some real flair.

Griffiths moves fluidly between fragments of song and a quirky narrative documenting his life – Madonna’s that is – because after all, Griffiths is Madonna. Devoid of anything but his own charismatic stage presence, a china pot of tea seated on a low table next to him, and a little red diary out of which he reads snippets of lyrics, very little additional embellishment is needed to convince the audience that they are in the hands of an entertainer who knows what he’s doing. At once celebrating and satirising the illustrious career of the Queen of Pop, his piano-accompanied narrative includes spot-on comic delivery of lines such as, 'love is a bird she needs to fly/let all the hurt inside you die’. 'My favorite part about that lyric,’ he pauses for effect, ‘… is that it rhymes’.

Griffiths leads us through all the phases of Madonna’s career; breaking down the essential parts of a classic pop song, to the more risqué parts of her oeuvre including her notorious Sex book, which he effectively parodies while sitting on a barstool and going through a copy. Griffiths is an engaging and immersive entertainer who knows how to take life lightly, while celebrating the joys of pop music. Finishing with a soulful rendition of ‘Like A Prayer’ (‘What, you thought I wasn’t going to sing this fucking song?’) before ushering us off into the night, he leaves us with a sassy intonation of Madonna; 'Uh, excuse me, I’m Madonna … the most famous bitch on the planet’. And for that one hour, we truly believe him.

The Boards, Edinburgh, 9pm, part of the Edinburgh International Fringe. RUN NOW ENDED.