Left – Michael Griffiths
With Melbourne's Midsumma now in full swing and pop royalty spreading their cabaret wings (Britney is currently performing south of the Yarra), it seems quite natural that the Queen of Pop should seek to re-invent herself yet again. The Queen of them all – Madonna!
In the bare space of fortyfivedownstairs, with only a piano and a stool, Madonna plays to her smallest crowd yet (her words) in an evening exploring her song writing talents, and commenting on selected moments from her life.
Re-interpreting pop songs is hardly new, but here there is a unique twist. Madonna is played by a man, Michael Griffiths. He looks like a man. He sounds like a man. But he is also Madonna, in his own very special way.
In Vogue is a clever take on both the songstress and the songs, and works remarkably well. I have always thought that Madonna's songs were largely memorable – more so than some of the career choices that she made. With some impressive arrangements for piano, Griffiths gives the music and lyrics a considerable lift, and together with some clever monologues, injects a lot of humour (yes, very camp humour) into the evening's performance.
The show looks at the songs that made her career, some that didn't, the movie disasters that she insisted on appearing in, and of course, the men in her life.
Some of these musical re-interpretations work extremely well, such as the opening Vogue, Papa Don't Preach, and for a finale, Like a Prayer, that sounds like the pop classic that it is.
Griffiths is confident, vocally strong and quite impressive with both the musical arrangements and with accompanying himself.
Writer/Director Dean Bryant again delivers a clever and witty script, but the evening could have left out the special guest – Madge really didn't need any help.
2012 Midsumma Festival
In Vogue: Songs By Madonna
by Dean Bryant
Director Dean Bryant
Venue: fortyfivedownstairs | 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
Dates: Wed 18 – Sat 28 January, 2012
Duration: 70 mins
Tickets: $29 – $25
Bookings: 03 9662 9966