Michael Griffiths is obscenely talented. Over the years, he’s appeared at the Fringe with shows sell-out shows celebrating the music of Madonna and Annie Lennox, but this year, in something of a departure, Griffiths is tackling the songs of Cole Porter. Perhaps not so much of a departure though as Both Ms Lennox and Madge are undeniable gay icons whose music has influenced more than one generation; Cole Porter did all that and more over 70 years ago.
Michael Griffiths has created a show that I’m sure Mr Porter would have declared de-lovely.
Cole is a love letter to one of the great American songwriters. Griffiths plays Porter with the charm and wit to be expected from the man who penned Let’s Do It (Let’s Fall in Love), Anything Goes and De-Lovely and so many other hit songs between the 20’s and 60’s. With only a piano, a decanter and an impeccably mannered performance, Griffith embodies the great Cole Porter and regales us with tales of his life, career, loves and losses.
Griffiths skill as an actor is undeniable, he smoothly characterises Porter even when going off script to engage with the audience or to drop a pithy comment on the weather. His performance is delightful and perhaps the closest thing one could get to experience an audience with Cole Porter. At the end of the rapturous applause, Griffiths sheds his double breasted jacket and the persona to thank us for attending and gives us a much-demanded encore.
I certainly hope that the audience who flocked to see Griffiths in the last few years at the Fringe take the time to see this show. Cole Porter may be a very different artiste than Annie Lennox or Madonna but he’s earned his place in the canon of iconic and influential performers of the modern age and Michael Griffiths has created a show that I’m sure Mr Porter would have declared de-lovely.