Elvis Presley Has Not Left The Building!

The Elvis Years

Theatre Severn

6th July 2018

 

Tonight Theatre Severn was absolutely packed to the rafters and beyond, something of quality was about to happen and the crowd waited with an excited buzz waiting to see their hero, Elvis Presley, well Mario Kombou but that’s a close to Elvis Presley as we could ever be. This is not a tribute show, it’s not a tribute act this is much, much more. It’s a total resurrection of the King as he leads us through his important years.

We were made aware that Mario Kombou has spent the last twenty years “doing” The King and how it showed. This man has as much charisma, as much musical ability and as much stage presence as the late Mr. P. and if one closed one’s eyes for a moment he really seriously sounded like Elvis.

Flanked by an amazingly able band comprising, Drums, Keys, Guitar and Double Bass which was latterly replaced for an electric bass. They were tight and clearly benefitted from the amount spent together as musicians, they worked together as one.

The show was a clever piece of theatre. The stage was simply set out with a riser upstage with Keys and Drums elevated and beavering away. However on stage level stood guitarist and bassist. But where would this kind of music be without backing vocals? The two girls, not named in tonight’s programme alas, were superb. With harmonies tight enough to please the Beach Boys, the two girls added flair, sexiness and depth to the show. They were both consummate entertainers in their own right and were of tremendous value to the show wholesale. However one feels that the backing vocals from the rest of the band were crucial in making the show the success it is also. One has never heard a bass voice as strong and as low as Simon Parrish, wow!

There is no doubt though that the star of the show was Mario Kombou. He played his role, and it is a role, beautifully. He found the humour and humility that people say Elvis had in spades. Throughout the show his voice remained constantly strong and powerful. There wasn’t a single note in the whole performance that didn’t sound like old Elv himself.

Although it was hitch free show and everyone was superb, there are two issues worthy of discussion. Firstly, when the band introduced a melodeon to back Wooden Heart, it did sound like a reed had gone in the soundbox and was playing out a flat note. One got the impression that the player was relieved to put it down and it never made another note all night.

The second note one would offer is a technical one and one wonders of the merits of shining eight highly powerful halogen lights, (at least 1000,000 candles each) directly into the eyes of the audience even on a short temporary bursts as was offered tonight one often wonders on the worth of back lighting at all? They really burn the eyes.

However the back projection worked beautifully and the audience were treated to some rare footage of Elvis and other images that fitted each song. It worked well.

This is a great show, the audience laughed and some emotional tears were shed. Importantly Mario doesn’t take himself too seriously and in the end reminds the audience that he isn’t Elvis and he has as much love and respect for the man as the audience themselves and there was mutual respect which is nice to see.

The audience sang, they danced, they shouted and they whistled. This show belonged to everyone tonight but there was one man in the centre of this wonderful spectacle , Mr. Mario Kombou.

This Is a Four Star Review.

Owen J.Lewis

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Owen Lewis Owen Lewis

Owen Lewis was born fifty something years ago in the land of the black puddings. For the geographically challenged that is in Lancashire. Moving to Shropshire From 1970 Owen was brought up in Church Stretton. His first real job was in radio. After starting on BBC Radio Shropshire he became known on Marcher Sound, broadcasting throughout the North West for several years. After a university degree course in Theatre, Owen became an actor and went on to play "Pirate Bill" in The Alton Towers Hotel. He also made several television appearances. Returning to university he took his PGCE enabling him to teach. That saw him on the Essex coast as a drama teacher and latterly as a Creative Educational Liaison Officer making films and creating new teaching methods to employ on children in need of more help in their fundamental learning skills. Published playwright Owen ultimately wants a house boat in Amsterdam to focus on his work as Playwright and Poet.

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