Reviewed by David Savage
Last night we were at the Leicester Square Theatre in London to see the magnificent Mario Kombou as Elvis Presley in The Elvis Years, a tribute to the great Elvis Presley who this year would have celebrated his 80th birthday. I took my mum along as she is a big Elvis fan and would be a better judge of how Mario performed as Elvis and she thought he was perfect and sounded just like Elvis Presley. She was over the moon that she got to meet Mario before the show and get her picture taken with him.
I must admit that before going I expected the audience to be mainly people of an older generation but I couldn’t have been more wrong, the audience consisted of all age groups including children.
The Elvis Years cast on the night consisted of:
Mario Kombou (Elvis Presley)
Chloe Buswell (Backing Vocals)
Asha Kingsley (Backing Vocals)
Stephen Gray (Lead Guitar & Backing Vocals)
Simon Parrish (Bass Guitair & Bass Vocals)
Nick Poyner (Drums & Backing Vocals)
Mathew Newton (Keyboard & Backing Vocals)
The Elvis Years is an excellent tribute to Elvis showing how a poor truck driver from Tulepo, Mississippi became the King of Rock and Roll that is still going strong today despite his death in 1977. It covers the important stages through his life from his first audition, the death of his mother, his army career, his movies and the Las Vegas concerts using a vast array of Elvis songs, a huge 50+, with plenty of costume changes. Mario and his band do an excellent job. Mario not only sounds like Elvis, resembles him but also has his mannerisms spot-on – from shaking legs, flying kicks, facial expressions and even hand movements. Mario has clearly put a lot of effort into becoming Elvis and it shows in a mesmerising performance.
As I said Mario (Elvis) sings over 50 songs throughout this 3 hour show (includes a 30 minute interval), from the lesser known songs ‘Rock A Hula Baby’ and ‘Patch it Up’ to the well-known ‘Viva Las Vegas’, ‘Suspicious Minds’, ‘That’s Alright Mama’, ‘Blue Suede Shoes’ and many more. Chloe Buswell also performed a solo version of Nancy Sinatra’s ‘These Boots Are Made for Walkin’ that was excellent and lots of fun.
Not only is the show about Elvis and his music, movies and costumes Mario also has fun with the audience and brings some comedy into his interactions which went down extremely well with the packed out theatre even joining the audience handing out scarfs to several ladies, stopping to have his picture taken with an audience member and even kissing him on the head.
I have only ever seen Elvis in films when I was a child but Mario was everything I remembered. It is easy to see why Mario Kombou is the only Elvis tribute artist is the world to be officially endorsed by Donna Presley (Elvis’ first cousin), who describes him as ‘The best Elvis since Elvis’. Mario is also endorsed by Elvis Presley Enterprises.
The show ended with several standing ovations and was clearly deserved. Mario is an excellent, truly great performer, entertainer and great showman. If you can see one show this year this is the one!
Even after an energetic show that must have left Mario exhausted he still found time to stand in the foyer of the theatre to meet the audience, talk to them and have his picture taken with anyone that wanted to.
An excellent show that will appeal to everyone. If you want a great night of entertainment, music and fun then visit www.theelvisyears.com to find a venue near you and book tickets today, you won’t be disappointed.
Mario Kombou and The Elvis Years are currently touring around the UK until November 2015. For more information on tour dates and venues or to book tickets visit www.theelvisyears.com or find them on Facebook: The Elvis Years.
Leicester Square Theatre, 6 Leicester Place, London, WC2H 7BX | 020 7734 222