Porter & Piaf @ Dunstan Playhouse Review

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Porter and Piaf Porter and Piaf

Two legendary artists crippled by love and life, Cole Porter and Edith Piaf, were divinely reincarnated on the Dunstan Playhouse stage by Adelaide cabaret royalty.

'Exposing Edith'’s Michaela Burger was gifted a box set of CDs of the Little Sparrow by a cantankerous Gallic mother while on foreign exchange because “you Australians have no culture, so you might like ours”.

This French woman’s hoity misconceptions would undoubtedly have been obliterated if she were lucky enough to obtain a ticket to 'Porter & Piaf'.

Gone are the days where footy players and newsreaders occupied the upper echelon of Adelaide social circles; Michaela and Michael Griffiths are now the toast of high society, and were recognised as being the top, the coliseum this year as Helpmann Award cabaret nominees; Michael ultimately won the prestigious gong.

The concept of merging the two shows into a double bill was de-lovely; it was like champagne and oysters.

The two shows shared a host of desirable traits.

The beginning beguiles.

With contorted legs and dependent upon a cane, Michael gingerly ascended the stairs towards the grand piano, embodying Cole before the dimming of the house lights.

Michaela, wrapped in the trench coat of a street urchin, frantically appeared from a side door in character, dashing through the aisles and into the spotlight. This shared technique instantaneously transported the viewer into the character’s world.

Get a kick out of the hits.

There was a cavalcade of anthems: ‘I’ve Got You Under My Skin’, ‘Night and Day’, ‘Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien' and ‘La vie en Rose’. Both shows gave the opportunity for reminiscing and enthusiastic sing-a-longs.

Despite the material being among the most famous and covered in musical history, the performers uttered each of the words as though it was the first time they had passed their lips; instead of parroting old classics, Michael and Michaela imbued every syllable with meaning and emotion.

On occasions, the air was sucked out of the venue; there was not a rustle or a cough, such was the transfixing splendour of their interpretations.

Go under the skin of the songs.

While 'Porter & Piaf'’s words and melodies are known to most, the relating of biographical details throughout the duo of shows ensured that the timeless odes were heard with new ears: it was Cole’s secret male lover that had gotten under his skin; Edith's 'Padam Padam' was spawned by her confining an unlucky songwriter in their room until they had penned a new piece.

Show closing duets were written in the stars.

Cole and Edith never graced the same stage, but Michael and Michaela joined forces for the finale with a pair of Cole duets ensuring that our hearts now belonged to them, not Daddy.

Those lucky enough to see this pairing went home with no regrets.


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