Wednesday, 9 September 2015

REVIEW: Love Me Tender at the New Victoria Theatre in Woking

Featuring 25 of The King’s most popular songs, Love Me Tender is a new musical from the producers of Hairspray and Legally Blonde inspired by the music of Elvis.

The story is simple enough; a small town in the US are shook to its core by a hip-shaking, pelvic thrusting stranger with enough charm and charisma to power a jukebox. What follows is lots of falling in love, mistaken identity and a happy ending all around!

Love Me Tender feels fresh and is a largely upbeat and loud show, as you’d expect with Elvis music, but also has real heart and warmth thanks to some well-placed ballads, expertly performed by a stellar cast. The script is funny with jokes told by big, comedic characters that all the audience really root for.

Headlining the cast is singer Mica Paris and TV star Shaun Williamson as Sylvia and Jim. Both deliver strong performances, especially Paris who wows the audience with her soaring, powerful vocal. Williamson, who has made a career of playing loveable fools, is the right amount of goofy as Natalie’s unlucky in love Father. Blessed with wonderful comic timing, he worked well with Paris with both performers
supported by fabulous co-stars and energetic ensemble.

Ben Lewis was arrogant and alluring as handsome stranger Chad while Sian Reeves bought comedic evil to the role of Mayor Matilda Hyde. Laura Tebbutt was brilliant as lovesick mechanic Natalie, with a commanding voice and who showed her versatility as alter-ego Ed.  The ensemble and supporting cast all worked tirelessly to bring the show to life from start to finish and the pace never dipped.

The real star of the show was town simpleton Dennis played superbly by Mark Anderson. Possessing the best voice in the cast, he combined smoothly with characters like Chad and Natalie to bring real honesty to the role whilst remaining amusing throughout. A real performer to watch out for.

The success of a musical often relies on memorable songs, and with the audience singing along from the off, it was hard to see this show not putting a smile on your face, but praise to the cast and crew for delivering a show that left the audience all shook up! If you want a fun, fast and funny musical – Love Me Tender is the show for you.

Review by Andy Edmeads 


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