REVIEW: COOKING WITH ELVIS at The Gatehouse, Highgate
FOUR STAR RATING Lee Hall S comedy is about a dysfunctional family in the north-east of England. Mam is anorexic and firmly believes that her 14-year-old daughter, Jill, who loves to eat, is morbidly obese. She has been
COOKING WITH ELVIS
FOUR STAR RATING
Lee Hall'S comedy is about a dysfunctional family in the north-east of England. Mam is anorexic and firmly believes that her 14-year-old daughter, Jill, who loves to eat, is morbidly obese.
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She has been landed with an almost unbearable burden when her big handsome husband - an Elvis impersonator - is turned into a vegetative state after a motor accident. Dad just sits in his wheelchair covered in a blanket as the lives of his wife and daughter are enacted out in front of him.
When Mam brings home her hunky and very young lover - who happens to be a baker's delivery man bearing cakes and buns - accidents are just waiting to happen. Some of these - but by no means all - are down to the constant presence of the family tortoise, Stanley who always manages to get under peoples' feet.
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What none of the characters know is that Dad, when left on his own, throws off his blanket to reveal himself in his Elvis persona - white jump suits with diamante and fringe - to perform a number appropriate to the state of the story.
Director John Plews has encouraged some outstanding performances. Melanie Dagg is attractively thin and sexy as Mam, Stuart is well hunky in the person of William Reay and we are afforded the privilege of more than glimpses of his naked body on several occasions. And Catherine Nix-Collins is stunning as a Lolita-type teenager.
The naturally magnificent presence of Mario Kombou as Dad is bound to steal the show. His full throated voice has the power and purity of the great man himself.
Gemma Harris and Stephie Hoyle are responsible for the multiple set, which itself holds many surprises, with glitter ball and star cloth used to great effect.
This is a well balanced, highly professional production with much hilarity - and humping - along the way. I suppose it could affect some of a nervous disposition, but I sat next to a frail old lady who was obviously delighted by the whole thing.
Until April 19.