Monthly Archives: November 2014

Review: Aloha from Hawaii, Aylesbury Waterside Theatre

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Gordon Hendricks as Elvis 

Gordon Hendricks. How do I not know about this man?

I didn’t grow up with Elvis music and I was born after Elvis died. So, I can’t say I was thrilled about reviewing Aloha from Hawaii.

I did my usual research, so I knew Gordon Hendricks is an award winning Elvis Presley tribute artist, touring the UK with his new show Aloha from Hawaii, which celebrates the 40th Anniversary of the the King’s “Aloha from Hawaii” show that was beamed via satellite from the island of Oahu, Honolulu, back in 1973.

Sounds boring right? I will be the first to admit I was wrong!

As Gordon stepped out onto the stage you could feel the electricity in the air, not only from Gordon but the audience as they knew they were in for a night they were going to remember. With my first glimpse of Gordon I thought “wow, he’s had some work”, but all jokes aside, you couldn’t help being instantly attracted to him, his smile and the twinkle in his eye, as his charm took you in.

Gordon’s energy and charisma won the audience over instantly. I don’t think anyone was actually sitting still, feet were tapping, hands were clapping, flags were waving, people were dancing in the isles but what stood out for me was this one couple in circle 1 that danced the waltz for each song – On the off chance that lady is reading this review, I just want to say you’ve a good one there. Everyone was there to have fun, it was like something I have never experienced before from a tribute artist; no wonder he’s award winning.

He certainly looked the part in his gorgeous white glitzy seventies jumpsuit, hair flopping in the right way and a cheekiness that made you feel warm inside. Whatever Elvis had, Gordon Hendricks clearly has it too! Women were flocking to him, giving him roses, putting leis around his neck and grabbing every kiss they could. Gordon was naturally enjoying every moment, they were so overwhelmed by him, I didn’t want to point out that he wasn’t actually Elvis.

The original show was only an hour long in Hawaii, so we were spoilt with extra numbers from Gordon and the 19 musicians and singers that together brought the stage to life, so much so that you forgot you were in Aylesbury. If I knew earlier I would have gone dressed up as if I was in Hawaii as it really was a party within the theatre, we just need the seats taken away leaving us with a floor to dance the night away.

From someone that wasn’t looking forward to the show, I have been truly converted and along with the rest of Aylesbury I was cheering for more. If Elvis Presley was alive today, he would be proud to shake Gordon Hendricks hand.

If you’re an Elvis fan or not, if Gordon Hendricks brings the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll to a theatre near you, be sure to grab your ticket for a night of star quality.

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Review – Miracle on 34th Street

When I found out Miracle on 34th Street was going on a UK tour, excited wasn’t the word!

Although I haven’t seen the 1947 motion picture starring Maureen O’Hara, John Payne and Natalie Wood, the 1994 version starring Richard Attenborough is my all time favourite Christmas movie.

Miracle on 34th Street is the heart warming story of Susan, a young girl whose Christmas wish is to have a father and brother to complete her family, although she doesn’t believe, as her mother told her the “secret” about Santa. Then she meets Kris Kringle, a man who’s convinced he is the real thing. Giving Susan the greatest gift of all, something to believe in.

I’m not actually sure who this musical is aimed at, possibly the older generation that’s seen the 1947 movie or read the book. In my opinion it’s not for young families wanting to get into the spirit of Christmas. It felt like a dated old American play, with a lot of opening night cringe worthy glitches.

The cast staring James Murphy as Kris Kringle, Inez Mackenzie as Doris, Ceris Hine as Susan and Jay Rincon as Fred Gaily gave it their all but unfortunately they didn’t win me over. I actually felt uncomfortable that Susan was played by an adult, as she was boarding babyish which didn’t balance right. Seriously though, can somebody please get Kris Kringle some shiny gold buttons for his suit (not the Cadburys kind), everyone knows that Santa Claus has big gold buttons with reindeer on.

The set was dark and looked unfinished, even the Macy’s sign appeared to only have a few lights working. With a few bright lights and sparkle the stage could be transformed into having that dazzling wow factor that it’s missing.

With a story loved by many it was disappointing that nothing stood out for me and I found everything a little flat. I didn’t leave humming a song or excited about Christmas, there just wasn’t enough depth or magic.

If my belief in Santa was based on this musical then it would very much be questioned. Thankfully it’s not therefore I still believe.

Showing at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre until Wednesday 5th November.

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