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REVIEW: Elvis A Musical Revolution

Review by Markus Hamence – Performance date: 3 April 2024, Opening Night, Adelaide Festival Centre, SA


A new bio-musical authorised by Elvis Presley Enterprises is touring to Australia.

The Icon. The King. The story of a man who gave the world a musical revolution.

Featuring over 40 hit songs, Elvis: A Musical Revolution celebrates the extraordinary life of award winning, cultural icon, Elvis Presley. From his childhood in Mississippi, to his triumphant ‘68 Comeback Special, and ascent to become ‘The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll’, this brand-new high-energy production explores the pivotal moments in Elvis’s life and music career through the perspectives of those who knew him best.

The Review

It was the Red Carpet, Opening Night at Her Majesty’s Theatre in Adelaide. A full-house and the vibe and energy of us punters was electric with many of us dressing in in some form of EP garb – Jump suits, slicked back hair, side burns, leathers, oversized glass-wear and Vegas inspired fabulousness. We almost KNEW it was going to be a great show. We settled into our seats and then experience begin…

As the lights dim and the iconic tunes of Elvis Presley fill the air, audiences are transported back to the golden age of rock ‘n’ roll in ‘Elvis: A Musical Revolution’. Playing to packed houses in Australia, this sensational tribute to the King of Rock and Roll is a captivating journey through the life and music of one of the most influential figures in music history.

From the moment the curtain rises (In the form of an effective large lit-up ‘Elvis’ wording), the audience is engulfed in the electrifying energy of Elvis’s legendary performances. The show seamlessly weaves together his greatest hits, from the early Sun Records recordings that catapulted him to fame to the chart-topping hits of his Las Vegas years. Each song is performed with incredible precision and passion by a talented cast of performers who expertly channel Elvis’s charisma and stage presence.

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, I need to make mention the show is done with great passion, respect and heart. The production is wonderful story telling of an Arts & Entertainment King & Legend woven together with a selection of his impressive songs, some I knew and loved, some were new to my ears (it didn’t matter). The Producers, Director (Alister Smith) and entire creative team know their stuff and present it extremely well, setting a bench mark to stand by. The show is action packed and is worthy of our attention.

The title role of Elvis is played by Rob Mallett (The Rocky Horror Show & Singing In The Rain), capturing the King’s physical likeness, charismatic stage presence, and vocal prowess with an infectious energy that has captivated fans thus far. His electrifying performance is said to fill the auditorium with the same magnetism that once drew millions to Elvis himself. It’s not an easy role to play for obvious reasons, a larger than life character, yet Rob does it, and with a great understanding of what it takes – he’s not a dime-store characterised version as we see far too many times. The talented cast doesn’t stop there; we had the pleasure of seeing Nemanja Ilic shining as a young Elvis (also played at various performances by (Oscar Harrison & Harrison Thomas), embodying the innocent and enthusiastic spirit of Elvis’s early career with captivating finesse​. Nemanja’s stage presence at such a young age is a credit to him. He holds in own, and very strongly, amongst the impressive ‘grown-up’ talent that graces the stage before us.

Ian Stenlake as the cigar munching Colonel Parker was on-point and believable, Ian has chops and his presence on stage is commanding. While the show does not go into the darker side of their relationship too much, you do see the glimpses required to portray the character as was.

The long suffering Priscilla is played with heart by Annie Chiswell, her love, adoration and later on the resentment and desperation is evident and plays out with 100% engagement. A speal nod to Kirby Burgess taking on the role of Ann-Margret – her dance segment MUST BE SEEN, it’s epic and like watching the original dance first time ’round. But, then there’s the rest of the cast, they are impressive, all of them, they dance, shake, sing and bring back to life this incredible story with determination and focus. Bravo to all.

One of the highlights of the show is its attention to detail in recreating the atmosphere of Elvis’s iconic concerts. From the elaborate costumes to the slick dance moves, every aspect of the performance is designed to capture the essence of the King himself. Audience members can’t help but get caught up in the excitement as they sing and dance along to classics like ‘Hound Dog’, ‘Jailhouse Rock’, and the beautiful rendition of ‘I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You’ sung to a baby ‘Lisa-Marie’.

Of course it is impossible to cover ALL the catalogue of great songs that Elvis produced over his years in the two and a half hour show but they do very well in their selections. I’m kinda glad they included the camp and flashy ‘Viva Las Vegas’ though, one of the first songs that I connected with as a young boy listening to mum play on the turn-table while doing the housework. Mum was a huge fan and still remember comign home from school with mum in tears the day the King died, much like me years later with Michael Jackson and Tina Turner.

But ‘Elvis: A Musical Revolution’ is more than just a tribute concert; it’s also a celebration of Elvis’s enduring legacy and influence on popular culture. Through archival footage and narration, the show provides insight into Elvis’s life offstage, from his humble beginnings in Tupelo, Mississippi, to his rise to superstardom and his impact on the music industry. The production touches on the white and black American issues of the time, the effect of booze and drugs, the toll of dizzying fame, his marriage with Priscilla and his endearing relationship with his parents, mostly his mother Gladys (played wonderfully and authentically by Noni McCallum) which formed the foundation of his life. Of course (like his song list) Elvis packed a lot into his short life, so there is a LOT of content, again, the team selected wisely and produced a very pleasing coverage.

The production values of ‘Elvis: A Musical Revolution’ are top-notch, with stunning visuals and multimedia effects that enhance the storytelling experience. Whether it’s footage of Elvis’s iconic performances or images of the era that shaped his music, every element of the show is designed to transport the audience back in time to the heyday of rock ‘n’ roll.

Overall, ‘Elvis: A Musical Revolution’ is a must-see for fans of the King and anyone who appreciates the timeless appeal of rock ‘n’ roll music. With its unforgettable performances, engaging storytelling, and infectious energy, this tribute to Elvis Presley is a fitting homage to one of the greatest entertainers of all time. So grab your blue suede shoes and get ready to rock the night away with the King himself!

Wrap up… A vibrant and respectful celebration of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, I will be going back and taking my mum: FIVE STARS


Elvis A Musical Revolution runs from 3- 24 April 2024, Her Majesty’s Theatre, South Australia

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