Michael Griffiths has wowed Cabaret Festival audiences in the past with his quirky take on a wide variety of musical styles and eras. In this new show, he becomes Cole Porter and takes us through some of the most recognisable music of 20th Century musicals.
Hobbling out to the stage with a cane and spiffy lounge suit, Griffiths enters as Cole Porter, famed and witty composer of hit musicals Anything Goes, Kiss Me Kate, Can Can and many more.
Griffiths embodied the affectations and tone of Porter throughout, while playing the piano and telling tales from Porter’s life. The premise is simple yet immensely effective. The combination of Anna Goldsworthy’s writing and Griffiths’ musical direction are perfectly matched with never a flat moment. Griffiths is completely believable, throwing in humour and a touch of sadness where required to keep the audience engaged.
The star of this show however is the music. Porter’s songs are some of the most hummable and it is surprising how many of his compositions were hits with such memorable lyrics. Although Porter is from a specific era, they do not feel dated and still seem to have a whimsical relevance, particularly in the Cabaret Festival setting. Griffiths’ voice is made for this music too, which transports the audience to the parlour at one of Porter’s many soirées.
Cole is an understated gem of the Festival with one of Griffiths’ most enjoyable and measured performances, perfectly placed to embody the man himself.