Adelaide Fringe Review: It’s a Sin

FIFTYSA+SA Arts reviewer, Dr Diana Carroll, enjoys a very intimate cabaret show with Michael Griffiths at Adelaide Fringe.

Adelaide Fringe audiences always love to celebrate the success of our local performers. Well-known cabaret star Michael Griffiths has been an Adelaide Fringe regular for the last ten years or more with shows devoted to gay pop icons like Madonna, Kylie Minogue, Peter Allen, and Annie Lennox. This year, his Fringe show has ramped up the intimacy with a very personal cabaret show.

It’s a Sin is a musical memoir, his own life set to the inimitable words and music of The Pet Shop Boys (PSB). And yes, the show opens with ‘It’s a Sin’ and those anthemic words: ‘When I look back upon my life, It’s always with a sense of shame, I’ve always been the one to blame, For everything I long to do, No matter when or where or who, Has one thing in common too, it’s a, it’s a, it’s a, it’s a sin…’.

This is the story of growing up gay in Adelaide in the 1980s, of being ‘a sassy little suburban homo’ living in Vale Park and attending a very straight private school. That’s a perfect segue into Suburbia, another great PSB song. It’s a sign of how much things have changed that Griffiths is now back happily teaching one day at week at Scotch College. And another great local Fringe act, The 60 Four, are always quick to pay tribute to Griffiths as their Scotch College cabaret mentor during their wonderful shows.

Throughout his hour on stage, Griffiths sings, he chats, he reminisces, and he plays the keys. He shares many intimacies with the audience including the trauma of growing up gay in the era of aids and The Grim Reaper, of finding himself and his people through music and theatre training both here and in Perth, of meeting his life partner Daryl when he was just 18 – they’ve been together 32 years, and (hilariously) of running away from home for a night when he was just 16, only to return the next morning to realise his parents hadn’t even noticed!

Griffiths shares the small stage in the quaint circus-style Spiegel Zelt – literally a mirrored tent – with regular collaborators Julian Ferraretto on fiddle and Dylan Paul on double bass. There’s a real bond there that makes the show feel like an evening with friends. At the end of this performance his partner Daryl ran forward to join him on stage for the final number Heart and the touching words ‘My heart starts missing a beat, Every time…’.

The audience clap and cheer – they love Michael Griffiths and they love The Pet Shop Boys. After the show he’s generous with his time, posing for endless selfies and happily chatting to the crowd.

It’s a Sin is a classic cabaret memoir with a very Adelaide twist – snap up a ticket now for one of this week’s performances. Highly recommended!

Michael Griffiths: It’s a Sin

until Sunday 17th of March

Spiegel Zelt, The Garden of Unearthly Delights

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