This is Elvis is set in 1968. Elvis’s career has gone downhill after one too many bad movies, he’s lost touch with his roots. He’s been eclipsed by the likes of The Beatles and Tom Jones.
Then Elvis secures a TV show on NBC. Visionary producer Steve Binder, who believes Elvis’s career is ‘in the toilet’, overturns the original plan to have Elvis sing Christmas carols in an impersonal studio. Instead, he puts him on a tiny stage, surrounded by an intimate audience, and encourages him to sing whatever he wants to sing with the help of his musician friends.
Naturally, Elvis stuns audiences all over the world with his raw musical talent and his charm. The rest of This is Elvis follows what happens next. Elvis’s friends want him to go on the road, meeting fans and playing tiny venues. But Elvis’s manager, the grasping Colonel Tom Parker, has secured him a hugely lucrative deal playing shows in glitzy Las Vegas. Elvis’s musical talent makes him little more than a commercial product for his hangers on, and the Colonel looks forward to months of consequence free gambling while Elvis earns back more money than he could possibly lose. Nothing if not dutiful, Elvis meekly follows orders and goes to Vegas.
The second Act of the show is the Las Vegas performance. We become an audience in the Showroom of the International Hotel, watching as Elvis runs through his greatest hits. And it’s brilliant.
Steve Michaels is stunning as Elvis. He looks like Elvis, he sounds like Elvis, he moves like Elvis. He sings hit after hit, and his last song (Jailhouse Rock) was as energetic as his first (Trouble). Standouts included the rendition of ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ and ‘Suspicious Minds’. He was charismatic . Reuven Gershon and Mark Pearce do a great job as Elvis’s reliable friends, always with his best interests at heart. The live music is brilliant, played by a very talented cast.
When we were told that ‘Elvis has left the building’. it was with sadness we left the Regent. The audience loved every minute of This Is Elvis and you will too.
Tickets for This is Elvis are now available from the Regent Theatre Box Office counter, by calling 0844 871 7649 or visiting http://www.atgtickets.com/stoke