Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

You'll Be All Shook Up by Elvis Play

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

You'll Be All Shook Up by Elvis Play

Article excerpt

Byline: Barbara Hodgson Reporter

LEE Hall's hit play Cooking With Elvis is set to stir up audiences when it opens for a four-night run in Northumberland.

The Phoenix Theatre in Blyth has scored a coup in bagging the dark comedy, which is one of the Billy Elliot's playwright's early successes, for a remarkable fifth time.

Its September 2-5 return run is helping the theatre celebrate its 50th anniversary year. And it is certainly set to get audiences talking once again.

Hall has said: "It's not like anything else I've ever written. That's what's great about it!" Filthy and funny, the once-seen never-forgotten play centres around a wheelchair-bound Elvis impersonator, paralysed in a car crash; his daughter, a passionate cook; his resentful wife and her new lover.

There's also a pet tortoise which has an important role to play and lots of Elvis songs.

Cooking With Elvis had its premiere 16 years ago at the Edinburgh Festival and has enjoyed huge success.

Hall said he is amazed the play still works and added: "I think there are lots of reasons: the music, the rudeness and, of course, that it's funny.

"I grew up in a tradition of popular theatre where the aim was to make 'a good night out'.

"A good night in my opinion is where you challenge, move, provoke and even shock your audience - but you also entertain them.

"Theatre should be for everybody, but so much theatre only really appeals to a middle class audience.

"I want to make theatre where anybody can come and find something for them. I think Cooking With Elvis has loads to entertain people."

The Phoenix Theatre said it is one of the most popular shows ever staged in its history and it has welcomed the playwright's commitment to the small venue.

Hall said of it: "Community theatres are the lifeblood of our theatrical tradition. …

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