WAAPA graduate’s devotion to Kylie shines through in Fringeworld show

Michael Griffiths. Photo: Andrew Ritchie
Michael Griffiths. Photo: Andrew Ritchie

WAAPA graduate Michael Griffiths returns for his sixth FringeWorld show this year with his shamelessly nostalgic love fest for Kylie Minogue.

Michael Griffiths: Songs by Kylie has been on the cabaret performer’s wish list for years, but it took until an Adelaide Cabaret Festival commission in 2017 for it to be added to his growing catalogue of shows inspired by Madonna, Annie Lennox, Cole Porter (which won him a Helpmann Award), Peter Allen and himself.

“The early idea was a dark, subversive show about Kylie as a songwriter, which wouldn’t have been even half as fun as what we ended up doing – a total camp celebration of Kylie from Neighbours,” Griffiths said.

“I do favour the early songs, but I’m 44 and you’re only an adolescent, teenager or in your 20s once and Kylie was a big part of that for me.

“I don’t sing anything from the last 10 years really because for the last 10 years I’ve been busy being an adult.

“I know my show is light-hearted but there is a sincere reverence for her.”

The hour-long performance includes stories and 21 songs (not all in their entirety) ranging from Minogue’s Stock, Aitken and Waterman days with I Should Be So Lucky, Especially for You and Better the Devil You Know to Can’t Get You Out Of My Head, Dancing Queen (2000 Sydney Olympic Games closing ceremony) and Slow.

There is also a smattering of audience participation because “that’s when cabaret really becomes cabaret, when you go off-page, the rehearsal goes out the window and you play with what you’ve got”.

Griffiths, who has performed in musicals including Jersey Boys and Priscilla Queen of the Desert, said he had found his freedom in cabaret and satisfaction in being his own boss.

“Maybe that’s Kylie rubbing off on me,” he said.

“I’m not waiting for my agent to call me and I don’t audition anymore because it’s so horrible.

“I did work a lot in musical theatre, but in hindsight I never felt legitimate and every show I was in, I was secretly terrified it would be my last and I would never get another job.

“I get to take ownership of these shows, which I couldn’t do in musical theatre because I felt a little bit like an imposter.”

THE ESSENTIALS

What: Michael Griffiths: Songs by Kylie

Where: De Parel Spiegeltent, The Pleasure Garden

When: January 29 to February 3

Tickets: www.fringeworld.com.au