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Jailhouse Rock
Other Venues, Various, see main review text for further information.
Ran during 2004 / 2005
How to Book:
Call 08700606630 or Book Online
Chris Cox
 theatre review
  From the moment you sit down and enjoy its speedy country and western/rock and roll opening to the second when the lights go back up and the cheering now standing audience leave Jailhouse Rock takes your breath away. Premiering in the West End and based on the hit Elvis film, Jailhouse Rock tells the tale of Vince Everett who is locked away. In prison he meets Hawk Houghton an ex singer, and Quickly Robinson who eventual encourage his unique vocal talent. As with all things American eventually a TV crew goes into the prison, and Vince becomes the star of the show. On his release he battles with Peggy van Aulden to make a big impact in the record business. The film is notable not only for the superb singing skills of Elvis Presley but he was highly commended for his portrayal as the troubled Vince. Filling the shoes of Elvis was always going to be a hard task, someone with his sex appeal, charisma and vocal talent was needed, but an Elvis impersonator alone this could not be, they needed someone who could act, who could make you believe and who could fill the stage with energy, enthusiasm and soul, they found their man in Mario Kombou whose performance was truly astonishing. He seems truly comfortable in the role, and the ease at which he sings these difficult, infamous songs is unbelievable. He comfortably handles the belting songs such as “Hound Dog” and “Suspicious Minds,” but shows his true talent as he performs a haunting version of “You Were Always On My Mind” which makes Elvis himself seem like an amateur. This man is amazing. He is of course admirably supported by a hugely talent cast including the multi-talented Roger Alborough as Hawk and the humorous Gilz Terera who the audience just went mad for. Vince’s love interest Peggy seems a difficult part, for she is the one who really takes this collection of songs and turns it into a story is given a believable and loving edge by Lisa Peace. The show is incredibly pacey, the story moves along at the rate of knots, and the Jailhouse Rock benefits from this. The action is always moving, from the brilliantly realistic and well-choreographed fight scenes, to romance, from Jailhouse battles to singing on TV, not once does the story sit still or seem stagnated. The story is pretty strong…particularly for a musical, and these is a real sense of narrative, something to get your teeth into if you will, but it is of course the songs that will have audiences flocking to The Piccadilly Theatre. What can you say about these sorts of songs that hasn’t been said before. We all know songs like Blue Suede Shoes, Tutti Frutti, and Big Boss Man are foot-tapping moments of genius, and the cast perform them to perfection. With talent like this you even forget that the title song doesn’t actually feature in the show due to contractual issues. In an extremely clever, and damn right effective move the only instruments played are seen on stage and played by the cast, from electric guitars to the double bass. This has been coupled with the set as a use of creating percussion, this is massively successful and adds a new dimension of certain scenes, particularly some of the fight and riot sections. But the set making sound isn’t the only thing that is good about it, it’s beautiful. A real intelligent design and one that looks stunning and when you interject the lights you have a memorising and attractive stage in which the scenes take place. Towards the end the show turns from a story to a concert, and by this point the audience are gagging for some good Elvis tunes to get up and dance to, and they get them! The sparkling ending makes you leave the theatre on a cloud of happiness, smiling from ear to ear. Jailhouse Rock leaves you breathless with excitement, it lights up the stage and is a really good fun and enjoyable evening out. A rock and roll blast…it’s true Jailhouse really does rock.  
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