Award winning Australian cabaret star Michael Griffiths returns to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival after a two year hiatus with his new show Songs By Kylie to the newly created Assembly venue on George Square, The Bubble.
Michael spoke with The Fountain about growing up in Australia in the eighties and nineties and his top tips for the Fringe.
TF: You are performing at the Edinburgh Fringe this year, how exciting?
Yes it’s my sixth year in a row and is exciting as always, it must be addictive. There’s no other festival quite like it, I’m forever being asked to explain the size of it but the only way to understand it is to actually see it for yourself. Its like the Olympic Games of the performing arts!
TF: The show certainly sounds intriguing, what is the premise?
It’s an affectionate tribute to Australian princess of pop Kylie Minogue. It’s unashamedly nostalgic and has a strong emphasis on the early years, starting out on Neighbours and teaming up with the ‘Hit Factory’ songwriters Stock, Aitken and Waterman. Along the way there’s Jason Donovan, Michael Hutchence and finding her own voice as a disco diva, but mostly it’s a collection of some of the best pop songs from the last thirty years. Put your hand on your heart and step back in time.
TF; And what drove the project, where did your influences lie?
A love of pop music, pop culture and Kylie herself. Growing up gay in Australia in the eighties and nineties, she was someone to fall in love with (platonically) and more importantly, someone to dance to. I had a lot of fun with my other tribute shows to Madonna and Annie Lennox (both seen at Edinburgh Fringe) and this show follows in a similar vein. It’s the songs you know but heard in a different light: sometimes with a biographical context, other times musically reimagined. I do a mash up of What Do I Have To Do and INXS’ Need You Tonight about Kylie meeting Michael, its my favourite part of the show 🙂
TF: What are your plans for the Fringe, having been before are there any tips or musts you would offer to first-time performers?
I’ll see as many shows as I can squeeze in. Having been a few times now, I’ve made friends along the way with other performers from all around the word and its great to catch up and see their new work, always very inspiring. My tips would be to immerse yourself and see something every day. Take risks and see things out of your comfort zone – I went to a physical theatre show in my first year that moved me profoundly, I still think about it to this day. It’s also a very friendly town so don’t be afraid to wander up to a fellow performer and ask for a hot tip, whether it be about what to see or how to better your craft. It’s really a place to hone your skills and broaden your mind, and a few drinks at the artist bar late at night is always fun too.
TF: And what are your future plans beyond The Fringe?
I’m straight to London’s Live at Zedel after Fringe for a week of shows already seen at Edinburgh, my tributes to Cole Porter and Madonna. Then it’s back to Australia touring Kylie all over the place. Currently I’m on a bit of a roll the rest of the year, then it’s brainstorming something new for Edinburgh next year.
Michael Griffiths: Songs By Kylie, Assembly Rooms: The Bubble – George Square Gardens, 5.20pm, August 3rd – August 26th (no show Monday 13th)