SPARC Theatre company filled up any lonely heart at The Greyhound Hotel.
In 2014, members of this production travelled 750km to the Parkes Elvis Presley Festival in NSW. This inspirational journey comes to life in a Cabaret.
Elvis is in the St Kilda building in the form of male and female impersonators. He is represented in a variety of his stereotypical costumes.
As themselves, the players speak or sing with the the help of their favourite Elvis tune, of the vulnerability and isolation in their community. One of the highlights of the show, is a parody of their trip to “Parkes”.
The backdrop silver curtain reflects light onto the band ensemble. The female Elvis impersonators swagger to their collection of instruments. They swing their “Elvis” hips and are dressed in Hawaiian shirts, over sized wigs and moustaches. Jeff Karutz – “Jazzy Jeff” the male impersonator of the band and saxophonist, sports a large cowboy hat. His tunes punctuate dialogue at opportune moments and he features in a comedy skit subject to his names with the other “Geoffs” in the company.
Myfanwy Powell plays “Love Me Tender” on keyboards, one of the many “King of Rock’s” songs in the cabaret. Nicolette Forte keeps a snare beat and percussion on a “box” drum kit.
They introduce the Master of Ceremonies another female Elvis impersonator and Artistic Director – Katie Lockett. This Elvis comes complete with blue suede shoes and an English accent.
Lockett introduces the rest of the company onto stage. MC Elvis interviews the players as if they are contestants in a “reality show”.
The Players continue “The King’s” legacy in their unique interpretations. They discuss love, relationships and family.
The SPARC Theatre program partnership with the Port Phillip Community Group, the St Kilda and Prahran Missions, enlisted support workers and the Reverend “Love”.
The players required minimal prompts from the Hawaiian shirted support workers. The Reverend “Love” does a hilarious jive-shuffle with his colourful sequenced sash over his otherwise black attire.
The Greyhound Hotel continues to celebrate diversity. The expression of love and acceptance from the likes of Reverend “Love” secure’s the open minded opinions of Churches and missions in the Port Phillip community.
All the players give stand out performances.
Danny Quinlivin, John Eslick and Bryan Brennan; individually deliver well timed one liners opposite Lockett.
Geoff Gent is a Thor inspired Elvis, wearing a helmet with horns. He partners with the “Geoffs” in a witty and untimely interruption from a phone call.
Raymond Westwood lends his vocals and guitar to an uplifting original composition “Moonlight”.
Rodney Liebel cuts a striking figure leading a chorus number. The SPARC collaborative staff and some audience members break into dance in front of the stage.
Spyrou Dendrinos sends a rendition to his belated mother on his piano accordion. His story in the backing track that proceeded the performance, brought a tear to my eye.
Mary Grace Levakis made us giggle from her Internet Dating debacles, from the reading of her poem.
Barry Lord’s interpretive dance solo of loneliness is impressive with his only dance partner, a mop. He is accompanied by the magnificent voice of Arts Worker, Rachel Edward.
George Psylopoulos is Elvis alive and well and living in St Kilda. He played basic chords on his guitar and mimics the silky southern tones of Elvis distinctive voice.
Lockett fills in the gaps with background vocal commentary from the players.
The silver curtains parts to reveal a moving video tribute to the late Maureen O’ Grady. A former SPARCie and avid fan of “The King” who conceived the trip to “Parkes”.
A humorous, quirky and honest script. The players tell their stories of making connections with creative like minded people in their community. The players express themselves in performance art with Elvis Presley songs, dance and original compositions.