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The Age review ADOLESCENT

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See article in its original context here by Rebecca Harkins-Cross for The Age.

ADOLESCENT ★★★☆
Michael Griffiths

“Keep young and beautiful if you want to be loved,” sings musical theatre performer Michael Griffiths, flashing the audience a cheeky grin.

Apparently a career in showbiz is a fountain of youth, or at least a way to avoid growing up. While on the road, actors get to run amok like teenagers, with the benefits of parental stage managers, pocket money per diems and a “what happens on tour stays on tour” mindset that justifies playing spin the bottle in the wee hours of a school night.

Prolonged adolescence provides a neat (if a tad run-of-the-mill) template for this biographical cabaret. It’s flexible enough that Griffiths can move between medleys of an ’80s childhood – Spandau Ballet, Duran Duran, Culture Club, A-ha and the Cure all make appearances – to the hits from various productions he’s starred in, like Priscilla Queen of the Desert and Jersey Boys.

Griffiths is quick on the draw, self-deprecating, jaunty and winsome, and knows how to endear an audience to him. The fun he’s having proves infectious, even at its cheesiest – like coming out into the audience for an a cappella I Love You Baby singalong.

This warmth and openness as a performer – which includes delving into some of the more painful aspects of his familial history – give the show more weight than your average jukebox cabaret.

While Adolescent is about learning to accept your age, Griffiths also wants to prove he’s not over the hill just yet. A joyous encore of Michael Jackson’s P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing) does just that.

 

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