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ArtsHub review ADOLESCENT

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See article in its original context here by Sofia Monkiewicz for ArtsHub.


Charming and sincere, Michael Griffiths has put together a sweet little show that certainly makes for a fun night out.

There is no doubt that Michael Griffiths is a talented guy.

With a string of successful performances behind him, including Jersey Boys,Priscilla: Queen of the Desert and several cabaret festival acts across the country, Griffiths has now taken the opportunity to finally put on a show that steers away from the glitz and over-the-top glamour of musical theatre, and focuses on his own life. While this may be considered quite a mature step to take for an experienced performer like Griffiths, his latest creation attempts to debate that exact sentiment; he may have recently turned 40 but he has certainly not grown up.

Adolescent is a simple, light-hearted production consisting of a piano, a microphone, a romantic candlelit room, and of course Griffiths himself, with his resounding voice and laugh-out-loud anecdotes. This hour-long trip down memory lane delves into the entertaining life he has had in the musical theatre industry. He sings and speaks about his 40-year-long youth, from nostalgia for his actual teenage years (which he gives an insight into with a catchy ‘80s medley), to the adult field trips he has been on that involve a bunch of grown-ups going on tour, staying up late, and playing spin the bottle. He alternates between music and stories with ease, in a way that doesn’t feel like a performance at all; more like a casual conversation at a cocktail party in between spontaneous piano sing-alongs.

Griffiths’ flashbacks are touching and sentimental. We hear about how he met his partner, and he divulges behind-the-scenes tales about his long stint involved in Australian musical theatre. He also shares some tender memories where he questioned his identity after discovering a family secret, and manages to find a humorous side to this seemingly dark period of his life. Griffiths’ quips are funny and surprisingly not whiny in the least, as seems to be the case with most performances that have a focus on getting older.

Musical highlights are Spandau Ballet’s Gold, which was performed with the drama and zeal it deserves, the impressive high notes in A-Ha’s Take On Me, and of course the crowd favourite I Love You Baby, where Griffiths belted out the chorus standing in the middle of the audience, encouraging everyone to join in (a request to which we happily obliged). There was a moment about two-thirds of the way into the performance where I was silently hoping for an original song among the endless covers; this request was met with a melancholy ballad calledResentments.

Each song in Adolescent, while brilliantly performed, did not entertain in the same way that the stories did; I found myself enjoying the music but impatiently waiting for more funny anecdotes to be recounted to the eagerly awaiting audience. Charming and sincere, Griffiths has put together a sweet little show that makes for a fun night out, and you will certainly find yourself continuing to sing all the way home.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars



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