Note: This review is from the 2016 Fringe

Australian cabaret performer, Michael Griffiths premieres Cole, at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe before a US tour in early 2017. Winner of ‘Best Cabaret Adelaide Fringe Weekly Award 2016’ and written by an old school-friend, Anna Goldsworthy, Griffiths’ latest offering is another treat for audiences old and new.

Without costume or makeup, Griffiths portrays his idol, Cole Porter, with pure genius and wit, managing to combine biography with cabaret, showcasing his  huge songbook with just the simple aid of a keyboard, a glitter ball, a whisky decanter and tumbler. As he comments, unlike his previous two shows, Sweet Dreams: Songs by Annie Lennox (2014) and In Vogue: Songs by Madonna (2015), this is the first time Griffiths’ portrayal is gender specific.

There’s a real sympathetic understanding for the complicated life of the American composer and songwriter, who despite marriage to Linda Lee Thomas, a rich divorcee eight years his senior, continues to conduct a gay, hedonistic existence; bringing a respectable heterosexual front in an era when homosexuality was not publicly acknowledged.

Griffiths takes us on a musical journey of Cole’s songs recounting his love affair with dancer Boris, to his exuberant party life in Paris, marriage, his Broadway and Hollywood hits, his near gay divorce and the riding accident, when his horse rolled on him and crushed his legs, which leaves him substantially crippled and in constant pain for the rest of his life

With over 1,200 songs composed for stage and screen, Cole Porter’s repertoire is huge. Griffiths delights the audience with his renditions of lots of the Great American Songbook, including Let’s Do It, Let’s Fall In Love on his love for Boris, I Love ParisYou’re the Top,  and with a bit of audience participation Another Op’nin’, Another Show.

Griffiths is a natural entertainer, and stealing some of Porter’s great lyrics, this show is so Easy to Love and De-Lovely and you can’t help but get a kick out of‘ Griffiths’ perfect show. It’ll leave you on a high.