by Greg Wohead.
ShoreditchTown Hall, to 26 March, then tour
38 Old Street, London EC1V 9LT to 26 March 2016 and on tour.
1 hr 15mins No interval.
Tour dates – 8pm 10 May, South Street Arts Centre Reading; 12 & 13 May, Mayfest, Bristol Old Vic Studio; 15 May 5.30pm Brighton Dome Corn Exchange, Brighton.
Review: William Russell 24 March.
The delightful ultimate tribute to the King.
Of all the Elvis Presley tribute shows this has to be the strangest and the best. Greg Wohead, a Texan writer and performer, saw a screening of Elvis’s 1968 Comeback Special, a TV show regarded as groundbreaking at the time. It was performed in the round, shot over four days, and pretended to be a spur of the moment jam session with the great man, then in his prime, but not for long, joked with his musicians and his audience.
It was, of course, as fake as could be, which set Mr Wohead thinking. What he has done, after more viewings of the original than seems wise, is to recreate the scene, playing Elvis, setting up the audience seated round the square arena stage to perform the roles they do in the TV show. One gets given the King’s sweat stained hankie, another a piece of lint a musician has plucked from his cheek, others are made to leap to their feet on cue.
It sounds daft. It is daft. But it works beautifully, especially when on screens hung round the room we get the real thing, orrather the original thing because nothing is real.
There is Elvis the Pelvis with the bedroom eyes oozing sex while Mr Wohead lays claim to doing the same in reality. The result is to bring to life not all our yesterdays – the affable Mr Wohead is much too young to have been there in 1968 as was most of his audience – but to bring forward a moment in Elvis’s time to the moment in time of the audience at the moment in time Wohead’s of performance. Balderdash? Perhaps But he sees it as dealing with time real and fake. But whatever the truth this is an utterly delightful theatrical experience. As for Elvis, could that guy Foxtrot!
Performer: Greg Wohead.
Sound Design & Music Arrangement: Timothy X Attack.
Scene & Lighting Design: Ben Pacey.
Collaborating Artis: Joe Wild.