The cosy Visy Theatre at the Brisbane Powerhouse was teeming with energy and the near to full house audience was very welcoming to Michael Griffiths In Vogue: Songs by Madonna. Upon entering to a relatively empty stage except for a piano, side table and stool, I’m sure the audience was left wondering what they were in for.
Michael Griffiths, star of Jersey Boys, did a wonderful job being Madonna. Different look, different gender, different accent but he led the audience on a very comedic ride through Madonna’s life; guiding us through her highs and lows, her singing career, motivations, romances, movies and motherhood. In short, her journey to ‘iconic’.
Now it may seem completely ridiculous to imagine a man portraying Madonna, but Griffiths was very entertaining and strangely quite credible, as he played, spoke and sang his way through the whole show with never a dull moment. The reshuffling of some song arrangements, and the clever blending at times of more than one Madonna song was seamless and energetic. (Although at first it was odd to hear a male voice singing Madge’s nostalgic and well loved tunes, especially the earlier girlier ones like “Holiday”, “Material girl” and “Like a Virgin”).
Writer/Director Dean Bryant has cleverly melded Madonna’s pop songs into a puree of naughty repartee, and raunchy comedy. Lyrics and songs were dissected and wound together to match the banter. There was also some genuine admiration for the artist that came shining through in Griffith’s very competent delivery of the melodies.
The highlight of the show was an explanation of how to write a good pop song using ‘Express yourself’ as the example. We were also reminded that pop songs have earned their place in the world because of how they make you feel; sending you back to where you were when you first heard them; who you were with, what you were doing, and how you felt at the time.
Parody at its best, the audience was completely enthralled for the 65 minute show and responded well to the whole odd, gender bending concept.