Terror On Presley Beach

This show suffers from a major conceptual problem. In trying to replicate shoddy 50s B-movies, and doing so badly, dottyb/Robot Parrot productions serve us with a double-whammy of well-intentioned naffness.

A group of excitable teens bop their way through an aptly bizarre sci-fi romp. With rock’n’roll music and a missing scientist who turns up in the unlikeliest place, you’d be forgiven for confusing Terror on Presley Beach with Return To The Forbidden Planet, except Terror lacks the extra layer of Shakespeare humour. Elvis, Boris Johnson and a gorilla make unexpected cameos, but serve to further disintegrate the already diffused plot.

Another issue with the air of self-conscious gaudiness is the resultant quality of music and lyrics. It may well be intentional, but the lyrics are star-shatteringly bad. This reviewer noted down some favourites, including: ‘we’re surfing aliens from another world’, ‘tell us’ apparently rhyming with ‘ballast’, and ‘Johnny Machismo / Ooh ah ooh wee / Johnny Machismo / That’s me’. The music, in a loving and close parody of early Elvis, serves its function but is overly repetitive, with excruciatingly long intros leading to long periods of uncomfortable silent bopping.

The songs were by-and-large barked by the cast, whose vocal lines were too low to project nicely. Bucking the trend was the unfortunately named Jonathan Ross, who gave a convincing Elvis impersonation and shone as the nervous youngster Frank.

If you have a particular fondness for campy sci-fi then you might be able to bear this show. If you can deal with light-up talking alien heads, that would be a plus. I for one groaned my way through 45 minutes of bad jokes and lurid costumes, and felt thoroughly discombobulated by the end.

Reviews by James Robert Ball

Leicester Square Theatre

De Profundis

★★★★

Another Way

★★★

Solstice

★★★

The Walls

★★★

The Blurb

One doomed planet. One missing scientist. Two surfing aliens. Four crazy kids. A rampaging gorilla. A hunky bodybuilding academic. Elvis Presley! A brace of boppin' tunes. This summer, everyone should dance on Presley Beach!