Australian Stage, 19th February 2015

The King and Me | Dave Warner

Written by Claire Condry      
Thursday, 19 February 2015

dave_covThe Velvet Lounge at The Flying Scotsman was packed. A lot of the audience were of an age and definitely old pals of the former Suburban Boy. They were a warmly receptive audience.

In an interesting premise, the soul of the late great Elvis Presley snatches the body of a recently deceased woman and returns to fulfil a bet that could elevate him out of the lower levels of Hell.

The dare is to fire up, Craig Nelson a tired 70’s cabaret performer stuck in gigs at the Ruxton RSL, to new heights and win the coveted “King of Kings” competition. The fact that the soul in question has chosen the body of a woman to inhabit is just one of many quirky twists and turns of the show.

It took Warner a little too long to set up the scenario; Craig’s self-esteem is at an all-time low and Leanne, the love of his life has left him. The pace quickened measurably when Caitlin Beresford-Ord hit the stage. She is a dynamic performer with a terrific vocal range and can sell a song superbly.

The songs are all by Warner and the music is cleverly designed by Martin Cilia to reference riffs of Elvis songs such as Viva Las Vegas. The guitarists Cilia and Sam Butler were brilliant, producing a fabulously full band sound as well as sound effects and backing vocals by Butler.

It must be said that Dave Warner is not a complicated lyricist but “In the Twinkling of an Eye” was a standout number. Warner speak/sings his lyrics but his performance singing in the competition was a masterful Elvis interpretation.

Warner and Beresford-Ord work well as a team. There are some natty role changes as Warner channels the lifetime manager of “the King” and Beresford-Ord reappears as the unfaithful straight-talking sheila, Leanne.

It’s a busy script peppered with jokes within jokes, such as an amusing string of Marilyn Monroe references.

There is a short season for the Fringe Festival but I can see Warner resurrecting the show and hopefully pruning it by 10 minutes.

Apparently the show was written for another performer and when he was unavailable Warner decided to perform it himself. Considering Beresford-Ord first read the script two weeks ago, it has come together extremely well. It is a credit to director Emily Mclean.

The show is infused with a fabulous sense of fun.

The King and Me
Dave Warner

Venue: The Velvet Lounge | 639 Beaufort Street , Mt Lawley, WA
Dates: 17 – 22 February 2015

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