Reviewed by Sandip Stapleton
I went with my mum to see This is Elvis at Nottingham’s Royal Concert Hall last night (6 August) and although I was looking forward to it, it was really going to be more a night out for her and me accompanying her. But wow, I had a great time.
I know quite a few Elvis songs and have seen quite a few films but wouldn’t class myself as an Elvis fan but after last night all I have been doing is singing Elvis songs in my head.
The first half of the show is set in the late 60s when Elvis had branched out into making films and wasn’t really as popular as he had been and was close to being overshadowed by the British Invasion of Tom Jones and the Beatles. The show initially focuses on a TV piece that Elvis was set to appear on that he was incredibly nervous about. The show was a success and after a scene where Elvis is on the phone to his manager, The Colonel, he manages to convince him that he doesn’t want to do anymore films and wants to focus on his music again. Hurrah! The Colonel manages to secure Elvis a residency in Vegas.
There is also a solo scene in the first half where you get a glimpse of Elvis’ relationship with his mother, who has passed away, but he still wants to do her proud. It was quite an emotional scene in an otherwise upbeat production. It was quite nice for there to be a bit of a back story about his relationships with his mother, Priscilla and the hole in his heart his twin brother left when he was still born, rather than it just be about singing.
The second half of the show is an absolute blinder and is a rendition of the infamous Elvis Vegas show. This half was less acting and more belting out song after song after song. The audience were on their feet, dancing away, waving their arms and tapping their feet, me included!
Stephen Michaels is not one of those many cringe worthy Elvis impersonators, he looks, moves and totally sounds like Elvis. It was uncanny. My mum couldn’t get over how much like the real Elvis he was. His singing voice was flawless. I watched for ages to see any signs he was miming but he wasn’t. He had even got the southern speaking voice down to a tee. It was literally like you were watching Elvis. I’d seen so many clips of real Elvis’ Vegas show and you could tell that Stephen had really done his research and every facial expression, gyration, arm flick was identical to the real thing. It actually felt like you were watching the real deal!
Stephen Michaels wasn’t the only impressive singer there. Each and every one of the backing singers was incredibly talented. I am so glad I went to see This is Elvis as it really was a top show and that’s coming from someone who isn’t a die hard fan.
If you are umming and aahing and about going, don’t! Book your tickets and have a great night out.
Elvis may not be here anymore, but with Stephen Michaels playing the part, Elvis has most definitely not left the building!
Tickets cost from £17.50 to £40 (booking fees may apply).
This is Elvis is at the Royal Concert Hall in Nottingham from 6-11 August 2018, for more information or to book tickets visit www.trch.co.uk or call the box office on 0115 989 5555.
Theatre Royal & Royal Concert Hall, Theatre Square, Nottingham, NG1 5ND | 0115 989 5555