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There’s a Guy Works Down the Chip Shop Swears He’s Elvis

The cast of There's a Guy Down the Chip Shop Swears He's Elvis, Upstairs at the Gatehouse. Photo: Darren Bell The cast of There's a Guy Down the Chip Shop Swears He's Elvis, Upstairs at the Gatehouse. Photo: Darren Bell
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After completing his national service in Germany in 1960, Elvis Presley was flown back to the USA to resume his recording career, stopping briefly to refuel in Prestwick, Glasgow. Officially, it was the only time he would have ever set foot on UK soil. On this slender fact, writer Jennifer Selway has crafted a light-hearted rights-of-passage drama, peppered with themes of friendship, fandom and infidelity.

Spanning two decades, Selway explores the agony and ecstasy of the first teenage generation via the Elvis Presley fan club (Kilmarnock Branch) and then 21 years later, as they face up to life and love as adults. It is an engaging, often gutsy drama that takes a while to find its feet, but, thanks to some punchy central performances and a nostalgic live soundtrack, this Edinburgh-bound show eventually wins through.

Pamela Wernham as Jeannie captures the energy and resilience of a young girl facing up to the demands of adulthood, while a marvellous Hannah Howie threatens to steal the show as the emotionally unsatisfied Zoe. The dynamic between these two characters, embroiled in a love-triangle with Scott McFarlan’s sleazy Rob, fuels the drama and provides many of the highlights, not least Howie’s venomous rendition of the title number.

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Verdict
A gutsy new play with songs, bolstered by strong central performances and a nostalgic soundtrack
Paul Vale
Paul has been writing for The Stage since 1998 as a critic and feature writer. He is also part of The Stage's Edinburgh Fringe review team.
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