This Is Elvis, Edinburgh Playhouse Edinburgh, Review:
*** 3 Stars
“All Shook Up!”
The Life and Times of Elvis Aaron Presley have been well documented both on stage and on screen over the years is there really anything new to tell the millions of fans who still cherish the music and legacy of “The King” more than 40 years since untimely death in 1977.
“This is Elvis” is brand new touring musical/tribute concert from production powerhouse Bill Kenwright with a book by Philip Norman and Directed and choreographed by Carole Todd. Telling the story of a year in Elvis’s life, starting from the run up to his 1968 NBC Comeback special, the telecast itself and the ensuing year leading up to his 1969 opening night of his legendary Las Vegas debut at the Hilton International Hotel. A period that truly saw Elvis at the height of his powers both as a person and creatively.
This is a production of two half’s and branding it a musical is a dis-service as its not a musical by any stretch of the imagination. The first act is essentially four sets of Elvis hits inter cut with dramatic story building scenes. Sadly, the quality of the drama is no where near a match for the musical skills of the 10-piece backing band. The Second act is an hour-long concert with no further development of the storyline, weak though it is.
The title role of Elvis is played by world renowned tribute artist Steve Michaels who is every inch Elvis vocally and visually and certainly rocks the playhouse in the second half but when called upon to deliver lines to further the plot there are too man stumbles for it not to be noticeable, but his effortless charm wins through and you can’t help but applaud him by the curtain calls.
With a talented ensemble of actor musicians, a Las Vegas showroom set design from Andy Walsmley, and sound design that’s pure concert level from Dan Samson, although its worth noting that if your recreating Elvis in the 60’s the use of a modern hand-held radio mic does jar a little. The Package is lit beautifully by Nick Richings.
Overall this production is marketed as a musical, its clearly not, but as an engaging tribute concert to the king with high quality production values, then this show will leave you all shook up!
Bill Kenwright and Laurie Mansfield presents “This Is Elvis”, Edinburgh Playhouse runs until Saturday 17th February 2018 for tickets go to: http://www.atgtickets.com/shows/this-is-elvis/edinburgh-playhouse/