Review: Love Me Tender

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INSPIRED by Elvis Presley and his songs, the musical formerly known as All Shook Up has been given something of a makeover.

* * * *

Playhouse, Greenside Place

Now entitled Love Me Tender, and with a new cast and director on-board, the jukebox musical’s UK premiere slid rather burst onto the stage.

That said, the songs soon come thick and fast. So much so there’s barely time to rest your Blue Suede Shoes. One minute you’re in Heartbreak Hotel the next you’re the Devil In Disguise.

Set in a small American town, there’s not much in the way of story: a rocking young biker shows up one day with a heck of a swagger, gets the townsfolk all shook up and even manages to get the tight-laced Mayor to loosen up to rock ‘n’ roll.

Despite the limited script, the performers give it everything they’ve got. Aretha Ayeh (Lorraine) demonstrates an amazing vocal range during the first half, and the comic timing of Laura Tebbutt (Natalie) had the audience rolling in the proverbial aisles.

Ex-Eastenders star Sean Williamson (Jim) clearly loves the show too. He has such enthusiasm for his role, you felt like getting up on stage and dancing with him, even though he acts like an embarrassing Uncle at a wedding.

As you might expect, there’s no shortage of cheesy, unashamedly silly, over-the-top humour involved.

The stage designer is clearly having a laugh with some of the sets, and the running joke - where every member of the cast gets to sing One Night With You - always came around unexpectedly, to humorous effect.

Star attraction Mica Paris (Sylvia) is a background character but comes to life during the last two songs to effectively carry the show home, receiving a well earned standing ovation for her vocal performance.

Love Me Tender is a good-time singalong production with plenty of chuckles to be had.

Run ends Saturday