Ephram St. Cloud : When did you fall for the concept of cabaret and why ?
Michael Griffiths : I fell in love with it when I visited the Adelaide Cabaret Festival in 2008 (in my hometown) while on a break from rehearsing Priscilla the Musical in Sydney. I was home to visit my Mum for her birthday and we saw a few shows together. I was captivated by the intimacy and the simplicity and it was like a light bulb went off in my head. I remember thinking «I want do THAT!».
Ephram St. Cloud : What is you first memory of Kylie ? Mine are Neighbours when she played Charlene.
Michael Griffiths : I’m 44 this year, so yes it’s Neighbours and Charlene for me too. The whole of Australia stopped to watch Scott and Charlene’s wedding and then suddenly she was on Video Hits on Saturday mornings singing «Lucky, Lucky, Lucky» in the bathtub. I didn’t really take her seriously as a pop artist until «Better The Devil You Know» came out while she was dating Michael Hutchence and rocking a pixie wig. Suddenly she was EVERYTHING and it was the start of a lifelong love affair.
Ephram St. Cloud : If you were stranded on deserted island and you could play only one Kylie song, which one would it be ?
Michael Griffiths : Wow, that’s totally Sophie’s choice. I have a massive soft spot for «What Do I Have To Do». In my show I mash it up with INXS «Need You Tonight» and it’s my favourite moment. I love «Hand On Your Heart» too, it makes me happy.
Ephram St. Cloud : How would you describe Kylie’s new album «Golden» in your own words ?
Michael Griffiths : Sincere, brave and heartfelt. I love it and it’s a testament to her artistry. Admittedly, I don’t sing anything off that album in my show (mainly because we wrote the show before «Golden» was released!) and I unashamedly favour all the early songs because they have the power of nostalgia. And they’re so fun! Golden is on high rotation on my iPhone though and her voice is better than ever. I LOVE «A Lifetime To Repair».
Ephram St. Cloud : What should people expect to experience in your cabaret Lucky: Songs By Kylie ?
Michael Griffiths : All their favourite Kylie songs, some of them faithful to the original and some of them like you’ve never heard before. There’a also a gentle biopic narrative to the show, so we trace her origins on Neighbours, teaming up with «Hit Factory» Stock, Aitken and Waterman in London, going it alone to find her own voice and her ultimate rebirth as a disco diva. It’s an affectionate Kylie love fest. And you can sing a long and have a boogie if you like!
Ephram St. Cloud : You are not only bringing cabaret Lucky: Songs By Kylie to the UK, please tell me more about your other cabarets too.
Michael Griffiths : A tribute to Madonna called «In Vogue» which follows a similar approach to my Kylie show. In both shows, I’m the «Queen» or «Princess» of Pop but without and drag or impersonation. The audience needs to take a leap of faith and come with me as we revisit and reimagine their songs in a biographical context. There’s also lots of laughs and they’re super camp. My Cole Porter show is quite a change of pace, the songs are exquisite and require no «reimagining» on my behalf. Rather, I sing them faithfully and tell his extraordinary life story full of scandalous love affairs, wealth and tragedy. Between the three artists, we have a collection of some of the best popular songs from the last 100 years.
Ephram St. Cloud : Have you consider to bringing your cabarets to Scandinavia ?
Michael Griffiths : I’D LOVE TO!! Book me in to a cabaret room and I’m there! I visited once a long time ago, it was so incredibly beautiful and I’m dying to come back. My partner has family in Finland so we’re hoping to spend some time there next summer and have a proper look around.
Ephram St. Cloud : What is your favourite cabaret you’ve seen (you can’t pick your own) and why ?
Michael Griffiths : I saw Liza Minelli in Melbourne about 10 years ago. Admittedly it was in massive venue, so not entirely ‘cabaret’, but the approach was just like a cabaret show – simple story telling and song. She was dynamite and I was in tears most of the show. I even met her briefly afterwards and shook her hand, she’s so tiny!
Ephram St. Cloud : Is there something else you want to add, before we end this interview ?
Michael Griffiths : I had the best time performing in London last year, the venue is divine and I can’t wait to come back. What better way to celebrate Kylie’s 50th and Madonna’s 60th in the same year!
Michael Griffiths will perform Lucky: Songs by Kylie from 30th August to 2nd September, In Vogue: Songs By Madonna on 30th & 31st August and Cole: Songs By Cole Porter on 4th and 5th September at Crazy Coqs/Live at Zedel in London, UK. To buy tickets, please go to – brasseriezedel.com.