BWW Reviews: SWEET DREAMS: SONGS BY ANNIE LENNOX is Michael Griffiths' Latest Musical Homage
Reviewed Wednesday 2 July 2014, 8:30pm, Hayes Theatre Potts Point Sydney.
Michael Griffiths delves into the life and loves of award winning singer and songwriter, Annie Lennox, in his latest cabaret SWEET DREAMS: SONGS BY ANNIE LENNOX in this beautifully crafted tribute.
Taking to the grand piano with a warm, emotional and seductive rendition of Missionary Man Griffiths takes on the persona of the artist he is honouring to tell her story with the underlying theme of love. He plays to the room well, and has a relaxed banter in his welcome as he introduces himself as Annie Lennox. As with Griffiths' previous show IN VOGUE: SONGS BY MADONNA, this show is from the first person as Lennox but Griffiths does not take on accents or costuming to try to re-create her.
The show is a well balanced mix of arrangements of songs including Would I lie to you, This City Never Sleeps and When Tomorrow Comes, storytelling covering Lennox's life and relationship with Dave Stewart, and amusing life observation quotes attributed to Lennox's father. There is a lightness and humour with an explanation of the creative process the ritual of cleansing a song not deemed worthy of pursuing. Griffiths also uses the comedic technique of shelving ideas to be used again throughout the show with little twists so that they do not become tired.
Director and writer, Dean Bryant, has created pared back sensitive arrangements of the well-known rock and R&B songs to enable Griffiths to transition easily between the story telling and songs so that the music helps the story and are not just sung for the sake of including the music. Griffiths accompanies himself on piano and his vocals have a full depth and warmth with clarity to ensure the lyrics are heard. He has a likeable cheeky personality with a boyish charm and his wanting to know where people are seated and the singing and choreography lesson to get people involved in a rendition of Thorn in My Side engages the audience. Griffiths, as Lennox, makes the audience feel that they are part of an intimate gathering of friends listening to Lennox share anectodes and observations of her life rather than a tiered theatre audience. The arrangements highlight the detail in the lyrics and this is nicely emphasised by a not so subtle dig at the modern pop singers and songwriters and the current generation's dependence on cyberspace for their information.
This show, which recieved the award for Best Cabaret at Adelaide Fringe 2014, will appeal to both Annie Lennox fans and anyone that enjoys a good story, regardless of whether they are well acquainted with the music. It is running till the 5th of July at Hayes Theatre Potts Point Sydney.