Thursday, 30 July 2015

Review: Love Me Tender (UK Tour) at the Milton Keynes Theatre

Love Me Tender (UK Tour)
Milton Keynes Theatre
Reviewed on Monday 27th July 2015

A Midsummer Night's Dream meets Elvis Presley. In Love Me Tender it seems an array of characters are in love with everyone apart from the person who loves them... and they can't help but break into Elvis tunes every two minutes. Love Me Tender may be the craziest musical ever, but it is so much fun and is a good crowd pleaser on the touring circuit.

Having premiered on Broadway in 2005 (under the title All Shook Up), Love Me Tender captures the essence of the fifties. Directed by Karen Bruce, the show is super cheesy and a little predictable, but luckily it doesn't take itself too seriously. Although some one-liners are funnier than others, the laughs keep coming and it seems as though everyone is having fun on both sides of the stage.

The cast is led by Laura Tebbutt and Ben Lewis who reunite having starred together in the West End transfer of Forbidden Broadway last summer. Tebbutt plays Natalie who falls madly in love with Lewis' character Chad. Unfortunately for Natalie, Chad isn't at all interested. One thing leads to another and, before you know it, Natalie disguises herself as a man and befriends Chad in an attempt to win over the newfound love of her life (as you do).

Tebbutt is sensational; she stands out throughout and shows off some seriously impressive powerhouse vocals at the end of the show. Once again Lewis proves himself as a hilarious comic actor, throwing himself into the show and embracing the weird and wacky tone.

Soul star Mica Paris is cooler than cucumber, with her big solo number receiving one of the evening's biggest applauses (when she lets rip her voice is incredible).

Also standing out for impressive vocal talents is Mark Anderson who gives a lovable performance. As usual, Chris Howell proves himself as one of the most versatile character actors working in musical theatre; his comic timing is impeccable and he never puts a foot wrong.

At times it feels like there is a little too much going on in Love Me Tender. As there are so many characters and so many sub-plots, the story’s conclusion seems to drag. The Elvis numbers are a little shoehorned and it’s a shame more isn’t made of the title number, but it's quite fun to work out which song each scene is building up to. 

Love Me Tender doesn't try to be anything that it’s not; have a laugh with your friends, enjoy a glass of wine and you're bound to be up on your feet singing along at the end of the show.

Reviewed by Andrew Tomlins (Editor)

Love Me Tender runs at the Milton Keynes Theatre until Saturday 1st August 2015 and tours the UK until 26th September 2015. Please visit for further information, full tour dates and tickets.

Photo Credit: Johan Persson

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