Elvis: A Musical Revolution | Adelaide Review

With an all-star Australian cast, dazzling choreography, and hit after hit, you simply can’t help falling in love with Elvis: A Musical Revolution.

Review by Carla Caruso

Elvis mania seems to have reached fever pitch again. Or maybe it never really goes away.

On the heels of the Elvis and Priscilla movies comes the theatre show, Elvis: A Musical Revolution. It made its Adelaide premiere at Her Majesty’s Theatre on 3 April 2024.

Elvis is brilliantly depicted onstage by Rob Mallett (who’s also appeared on TV shows like Home & Away and Wakefield). He fully embodies ‘Elvis the Pelvis’ with his moves, and has the pipes to match, barely stopping for a breath throughout the production.

Kudos also must go to the young boy, who played Elvis as a child on opening night. (The role’s shared between youngsters Nemanja Ilic, Harrison Thomas, and Oscar Harrison.) He rightly received a roar of applause at the show’s end.

With the show featuring 40-plus Presley hits, it’s a challenge to sit still in your theatre seat. Think Jailhouse Rock, Hound Dog, That’s All Right, All Shook Up, A Little Less Conversation, and more.

Like the Baz Luhrmann-directed movie, the show follows Presley’s life story, from him growing up ‘dirt-poor’ in a mostly black neighbourhood in Mississippi (influencing his sound) to being a truck-driving delivery boy, hoping to be discovered, and later becoming ‘The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll’.

If you’ve consumed any films or shows about Elvis in your lifetime, you’ll already know many of the key moments, but it’s still gratifying to see them play out on stage.

Like how he had an identical twin brother, who was born stillborn. And how he was drafted by the US army at the height of his career but had to take emergency leave to visit his dying mother. And how Colonel Tom Parker discovered—and many say exploited—him, including making him appear in endless, formulaic movies.

But you may also make new discoveries about Elvis too. Like how he had a high school sweetheart before Priscilla, named Dixie Locke Emmons (Priscilla doesn’t appear in the show until after intermission). And how he was originally discounted by Sun Records when he went in for a recording session, but a receptionist pushed him forwards. (Infamously, when the receptionist, Marion Keisker, one day asked him, ‘Who do you sound like?’, Elvis said, ‘I don’t sound like nobody.’)

His ability to stand out from the crowd served him well throughout his career too, from his trademark lip curl to his swivelling hips.

The show glosses over some aspects of Elvis’s life, like the pill-popping and his penchant for young girls and his disturbing diet (hello, banana and bacon sandwiches).

Though, there are references to other not-so-positive things, including his affair with Swedish-American actress Ann-Margret Olsson, and his ill treatment of his musicians and Priscilla.

Despite knowing more of Elvis’s flaws these days, it hasn’t stunted our fascination with him. The man, care of his looks and charisma, can never be cancelled.

The show has a runtime of two-and-a-half hours and is said to be for ‘all ages’, however, there is some swearing – and kids would need to be old enough to sit still for that long.

If you’ve grown up with Elvis playing in your household, like I did, this is one not to miss. You’ll leave on a high. So, dare I say it, dust off those blue suede shoes!

Elvis: A Musical Revolution is performing at Her Majesty’s Theatre in Adelaide until 28 April 2024. Get all the details here.

Review by Carla Caruso

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All photos by Carla Caruso for Play & Go, where marked. Main photo supplied.

At Play & Go Adelaide we make every effort to provide accurate information to the best of our knowledge at the time of publication. We recommend confirming times, dates and details directly before making any plans as details may be subject to change.

As per all our Play & Go reviews, this is not a sponsored post and our review is done completely independently. 


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