This is Elvis: Review

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This is Elvis is more than a theatre production or musical, it is a celebration of the life and music of one of the greatest musicians in history.

Bill Kenwright’s touring production is exciting and memorable, exploring the king of rock ’n’ roll’s comeback after 15 years.

Set in the late 1960’s after Elvis’ return from the army, the production touches on some of the troubles in the singer’s life, such as his failing marriage to Priscilla, drug use and conflicts with his manager, Colonel Tom Parker, who believed that rock ’n’ roll was dead and urged Elvis to stay in the film industry.

Elvis’ character is played by Canadian tribute act, Steve Michaels, who emulates the King perfectly. He puts every bit of energy he has from start to finish into his performance. From his striking vocals, to powerful dance moves and classic Elvis mannerisms of his tapping foot and shaking leg. At times Michaels is so convincing, you forget you are watching a theatre production; it’s like being in concert with Elvis himself.

This Is Elvis

This Is Elvis. Photo: Pamela Raith.

The production starts at NBC studios where Elvis performs what would later be known as ’68 Comeback Special’ and ends reluctantly, at The International Hotel in Las Vegas, where he redeems himself, after an unsuccessful performance there years ago.

Panels of changing coloured light the stage, giving the night an authentic 60’s theme.

Throughout, Elvis is uplifted by his best friends Joe Esposito (Reuven Gershon) and Charlie Hodge (Mark Pearce), who play guitar for him in the phenomenal live band.

The two-and-a-half-hour long performance samples 40 of his best songs, including, high powered Hound Dog, Viva Las Vegas, Blue Suede Shoes and Jailhouse Rock, as well as Elvis’ soulful, blues style songs like Love Me Tender, Can’t Help Falling In Love With You and his unique take on Simon and Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Water.

“In music, there is no black, there is no white, there is no rich or no poor, no north or no south,” Elvis tells us.

Dressed in the iconic white jumpsuit, he prompts the audience onto their feet to get involved with his final medley of songs: “If you can feel the heat, get out of your seat!”

The audience follow his instruction, clapping along and dancing, with some couples jiving in the aisles.

After a breathtaking performance our star exits the stage to a well deserved applause and cheers from the hyped audience.

“Elvis has left the building.”

This Is Elvis is at The Regent Theatre, Hanley until Saturday 31st March. For tickets visit the website.

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