Preview: Michael Griffiths – Cole
The spirit of Cole Porter reimagined by swinging Aussie cabaret star
This article is from 2016.
After his critically acclaimed tilts at the legacies of musical goddesses Annie Lennox and Madonna, Australian cabaret artist Michael Griffiths is attempting a new, challenging role: the original pop star himself, Cole Porter.
An icon of songwriting and member of the grand pre-war ensemble cast that includes Hemingway, Picasso and Gertrude Stein, Porter pretty much invented the pop song as we know it. Griffiths' show Cole will bring the story of Porter to Edinburgh, alongside his timeless songs in a production that's due to be part biography, part cabaret performance. Griffiths says that audiences can expect nothing less than 'some of the most romantic and amusing songs ever written by a man whose talent was matched only by his privilege. Cole brushed shoulders with kings and queens and travelled the world in style but he was always getting up to some kind of mischief – whether it involved champagne, cocaine or handsome young men, it's no coincidence his first big hit was "Let's Misbehave!".'
Griffiths says that inhabiting him wasn't as daunting a prospect as it initially seemed. 'I don't really worry about comparing, it's more about finding out where Cole and I meet in the middle.' While Griffiths intends to add his own take on Porter's songs and humour, he says that authenticity was a big concern.
'When I began learning these songs, wherever possible, I found original piano arrangements to perform them as Cole himself might have back in the day.'
Assembly George Square Gardens, 6–29 Aug (not 16), 6pm, £10–£12. Previews 4 & 5 Aug, £6.