Visit London Blog » elvis presley Enjoy the very best of London Thu, 28 Aug 2014 11:51:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Million Dollar Quartet at the Noel Coward Theatre Sun, 06 Mar 2011 13:00:52 +0000

You may have seen the bright Million Dollar Quartet sign near Leicester Square, it has been up for some time. The show celebrates the night that four of the greatest rock’n’roll legends came together: Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins under the guidance of Sam Phillips, record producer at Sun Records.

On this night in 1956 the four have an epic jam session and make music history.

This show is lots of fun, and the score will delight visitors of all ages. The production is less a musical than a tribute act, with four very talented impersonators. There is little narrative, so if you need the loo halfway through, the most you’re going to miss is a favourite Elvis number. While watching, I found many parallels with Woody Sez, the show on just round the corner showcasing folk artist Woody Guthrie’s life and music. There are also similarities with box office success Jersey Boys, particularly in the staging that favours dramatic static poses and strong silhouettes.  

Of the four performers, Ben Goddard sparkles brightest, playing the cheeky Jerry Lee Lewis; he has a magnetic spirit and an irresistible charm. He is an exceptional pianist and has a voice that is full of fire. Goddard energises the score matching the original Lewis’s star quality. Robert Britton Lyons has a tricky task playing the less famous musician Carl Perkins, luckily his guitar skills make up for the slightly bland characterisation. Both Derek Hagen (Johnny Cash) and Michael Malarkey (Elvis Presley) fulfil the brief as their respective legends; it’s a pleasure to listen to their renditions of some classic numbers and they seem to love being up there. There is secure back-up too from Francesca Jackson as Presley’s squeeze Dyanne, and Bill Ward as the enthusiastic ringleader Sam Phillips.

Although Million Dollar Quartet may not be as durable as its competitors, no-one can deny the talent and fun that the show displays by the bucket-load.

Million Dollar Quartet is booking at the Noel Coward Theatre until 1 October 2011. Book tickets here

]]> 0
Wanda Jackson at the Luminaire Thu, 22 Apr 2010 10:30:10 +0000 The queen of rockabilly Wanda Jackson played at the Luminaire in Kilburn last night, and I was there.

Although she’s in her 70s,  wonderful Wanda’s still got the pipes that made her one of the biggest female rock’n’roll stars of the 1950s and beyond.

Her career was helped along by a certain Elvis Presley, whose “ring she wore” (she was his girlfriend) for about year back in the day. And that’s just one of the entertaining stories about her life Wanda recounts as enjoyable stage banter throughout the show.  Another is how popular her hit Fujiyama Mama was in Japan – the song contains the lyrics “I can cause destruction just like the atom bomb”, which you’d imagine might have been rather confronting in 1957.

Imelda May was the support act and she also joined Wanda on stage to belt out a few tunes together, including one of my faves: Hard Headed Woman.  Other standouts were Let’s Have A Party and Funnel Of Love. And, proving she’s not stuck in the past, Wanda did a cover of Amy Winehouse’s You Know I’m No Good from her new album, which was produced by the White Stripes‘ Jack White.

The Luminaire is a real music-lovers venue. It’s intimate, with great sound, and it’s just a shame Wanda’s so tiny, we could barely see her on the low stage. We could hear her perfectly though, because even after 50 years in the biz, Wanda can still wail!

]]> 2