Michael Griffiths – Sweet Dreams: Songs by Annie Lennox. Melbourne Cabaret Festival 2013 (4/7/2013)

Brilliantly & Cleverly Executed. Full of Fantabulous-ness. ‘Sweet Dreams are made of this’

(original image by Chris Parker. courtesy of http://simonparrismaninchair.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/michael-griffiths-sweet-dreams-annie-lennox.jpeg)

Sitting in an ex-warehouse space and looking onto a simple stage setting with only a blue curtain backdrop and a polished grand piano; the audience eagerly waits for Michael Griffiths’ cabaret show: Sweet Dreams: Songs by Annie Lennox to start.  As the lights begin to dim for the show, silence and slight darkness surrounds the warehouse…the only sound that can be heard is the sound of a person’s footsteps and the only visible sight is the silhouette of Michael.  As Michael takes his seat at the piano and as soon as the first piano key is played, the warehouse space lights up and comes back to life as Michael fills the silence with his incredible vocals in the energised opening number: Missionary Man.

From the brilliant mind of scriptwriter and director Dean Bryant; with the amazing musical arrangements and flawless performance by the immensely talented Michael Griffiths, Michael captures and captivates his audience with his great stage presence; from the very moment his footsteps can be heard in the slight darkness right through to the very end when he sings the last song before everyone needed to vacate so the show after Michael’s can start promptly (although, many audience members didn’t seem to want to go nor did they want Sweet Dreams to end).

Without the aid of any over-the-top backdrops or extravagant costumes; Michael delivers.  With just a piano, his charming self, his remarkable piano skills and powerful vocals, Michael tells snippets of Annie Lennox’s life; focussing on the ups and downs of her romantic life as well as her band and solo music career through his clever musical arrangements and reinterpretations of a wide range of Lennox’s songs including Little Bird, Thorn In My Side, Walking on Broken Glass, Who’s That Girl, There Must Be An Angel (Playing With My Heart) and of course, Sweet Dreams. With each song representing the different state of mind Lennox is at in various points of her life, Michael immersed himself in his performance and sings each song with absolute passion and full of emotions; and in between songs, Michael delivers mini Lennox’s personal anecdotes as well as create a number of humorous attempts at song writing (most of which failed but nonetheless, they were good attempts, honestly).  Throughout the show he speaks in first person as though he is Lennox but he uses his own voice and makes no attempt to sound like Lennox.  Although this causes a little confusion at first to the audience, it is so brilliantly and cleverly executed by Michael that the confusion quickly dissolves and disappears.

This is a show that’ll guarantee to make you giggle, laugh, teary and even cry simultaneously.

There are only a couple of nights left of his Sweet Dreams: Songs by Annie Lennox show in Melbourne before Michael heads off to spread his fantabulous-ness (self-made word for Michael) to the other states.  Whether you are going to this show or his other one (In Vogue: Songs by Madonna) or you are thinking about going to a cabaret show; his performance is definitely a must-see. Watching Michael is guaranteed to be a wonderful night of fantastic music and entertainment.

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