See article in its original context here by Suzanne Tate for Theatre People.
I felt a sense of Déjà vu while I waited for Michael Griffith’s Cabaret Adolescent to start. It was almost a year ago that I came to see Griffiths in Sweet Dreams at the same venue, FortyFive Downstairs. The weather was just as hot, and I probably had to battle through the tennis traffic then too, although I don’t remember that. It must have been a fraction cooler this year, as Griffiths didn’t feel the need to apologise to the audience this year as he turned off the large (and noisy) fans that were keeping us all relatively cool. What had not changed was the caliber of the performance, or the enjoyment of the audience.
Rather than focusing on the lives of music idols, as in the previous show, Adolescent focuses on Griffiths’ reflections of his own life and his ongoing refusal to ‘grow up’, despite recently celebrating ‘the Big 40’.
Griffiths opens with an Annie Lennox song, ‘Keep Young and Beautiful’, and continues with a series of 80s hits, as he remembers his actual adolescence. The set is structured as a medley, interspersed with amusing anecdotes from his teen years. Griffiths quickly develops an easy rapport with the audience, and they are as keen to hear his wit as they are to listen to him sing, so the mix works well. Truncating the 80s songs down and stringing them together keeps the mix fresh, and allows us to take a longer work down memory lane than we would have had time for if the whole song was sung. The medley includes songs by Spandau ballet, A-ha, Duran Duran, Howard Jones, and Culture Club.