Review: This is Elvis, Blackpool Opera House

Steve Michaels as Elvis
Steve Michaels as Elvis
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It’s difficult to find a new angle on Elvis - every detail of his life has been poured over in the years since his death.

But this show focuses on perhaps the most pivotal time in his career when he was trying to break free from movie-making and get back to his musical roots.

The performance opens with a rehearsal scene for the ‘68 Comeback Special’, a live TV broadcast which has since gone down in history.

Every Elvis fan will recognise the leather-clad star still in great shape and giving a knock-out performance.

Award winning tribute artist Steve Michaels brings great energy to the stage in re-creating this key moment as Elvis re-establishes himself at a time when he was up against rival acts including The Beatles.

Also depicted is his stifling relationship with manager Colonel Tom Parker, and the beginning of his use of prescription drugs.

Other fascinating scenes involve producer Steve Binder trying to relinquish some of the grip Parker held over Elvis and urging him to get back to live performing.

The second half of the show recreates the residency Elvis took up at the International Hotel in Las Vegas.

It’s a fabulous journey through some of the King’s greatest performances such as It’s Now or Never, In The Ghetto, Suspicious Minds, and Just Can’t Help Believing.

Not everything is historically accurate - Elvis never actually performed Viva Las Vegas live for example.

But Michaels’ delivers a dynamic set, switching easily between ballads such as Are You Lonesome Tonight? to the rousing American Trilogy.

He also portrays Elvis’ s easy sense of humour and relationship with the Memphis Mafia and is backed by an excellent band, with singers representing the Jordanaires and the Sweet Inspirations.

This show intelligently interprets a key stage in the star’s life while giving fans an experience of what it would have been like to see him on stage.

(At the Opera House until Saturday)