Edinburgh Fringe 2017
Acclaimed crooner Mikelangelo (Black Sea Gentlemen, La Clique) takes on three great poets of rock’n’roll: Nick Cave, Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen, in a show filled with beauty, power and humour.
The lights dim and Mikelangelo, that consummate crooner and symbol of testosterone filled masculinity (for those who still buy into it) whistles a tune as he enters from the back and we are mesmerized.
This show is music at its romantic best. If you still believe in moonlight, flowers and love that lasts forever, you have come to the right place. It is lovely to believe, even for a moment that a bond between two human beings is the most beautiful thing that can happen to a person and without it we are only half what we could be. And that is what these songs are about.
Mikelangelo takes the stage with twinkling lights like star shine behind him. He tells us how much he has been influenced by the music we are about to hear: a potpourri of songs by the three great poets of rock’n’roll: Nick Cave, Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen, with one addition, ‘Metropolis’ by Mikelangelo himself. “These are my invisible mentors that I first heard when I was not a boy but not yet a man,” he says. “Their songs are timeless. It feels like they have been around for thousands of years, yet could have been written today.”
The lights dim, he picks up his guitar and sings. We are transported into a magic world of strong men and gorgeous women who have the power to break hearts. “I’m your man,” by Leonard Cohen opens the show to remind us “I’ll do anything you want me to… I’m your man.” The words paint a picture of a fairy tale we all want to believe. And when Mikelangelo sings, it all becomes real.
Cave’s “Into my Arms” is next, followed by Waits’ “All the World is Green.” We hear, “We will all turn into beggars when all the world is green.”
“Tom Waits is the patron saint of a lot of musicians,” says Mikelangelo. “He made me realize the power of a song. These men made the music they wanted and helped me find my own voice.”
And it is his voice, his very presence that elevates this show into something wonderful. He sings to each of us as if we were the only one in the room. He tells us that Leonard Cohen is another artist that can unleash the artist inside us. We hear the wonderfully moving “Hallelujah” to prove it.
The show ends with the stirring “Let Me Dance You to the End of Love” with Mikelangelo on the accordion, dancing the audience out of the room and down the stairs of the Assembly Checkpoint into the street.
The Edinburgh festival is frantic with thousands of shows to see and very little time to see them all. Mikelangelo: Cave-Waits-Cohen, offers us a music-filled interlude to the hustle of bustle on the street. It fills our hearts with the songs we love sung by a man who transforms the lyrics into a personal love song to us all.