REVIEW: Mike Tsama in RISE OF THE MEMPHIS CAT

Elvis is in the building!

By Christine Moffat

If you ever wondered what it was really like seeing Elvis Presley perform live way back when: before he was a star, before he went Hollywood, before the pills and the booze and the double-bacon-cheese-and-banana burgers, this show is your chance to find out! 

If you’re looking for that cool, truck-driving hunk of rough diamond that Sam Phillips and The Colonel were all shook up about, Mike Tsama is your man.  This 65-minute show takes you back to that time and that guy, with a faultless vocal performance by Tsama that manages to evoke a young Elvis without becoming a mere impersonation (a rare feat). 

Staged at the über-funky cabaret venue The Butterfly Club, the show is perhaps a little big for the room.  I believe this show calls for a big stage and a big, excited, Elvis-digging crowd.  That being said, if a smaller, more intimate (you know what I’m sayin’ Momma?) Elvis experience is what you’re after, this show at this venue is it. 

Although fewer costume changes and a couple less songs would have been preferable, if you go along for the ride this show will be a hell of a lot of fun for cats and kittens, so get clapping along early and you’ll have a ball.  As a concert experience, there is no real narrative or cabaret format, but this is not a kitch and cool outsiders’ show – it’s clearly for Elvis fans and soon-to-be Elvis fans of all ages. 

The combination of Tsama’s voice (which was pitch perfect) and his choice of some lesser-known songs as well as hits made me want to go home and play every Elvis song in my collection.  Oh, and if you’re craving a little extra special attention from The King, sit up and front and your wish might be granted…

Rise of the Memphis Cat

Written, produced & performed by: Mike Tsama

Featuring character voices: Steve McGrath, Meera Belle, David Watkins & Glen Schollum

Venue:  The Butterfly Club, 204 Bank Street, South Melbourne

Times: 7pm Thurs/Fri/Sat, 6pm Sun

Dates: Thurs 24th to Sun 27th May

Ticket prices: $23 Full, $20 Conc, $18 Groups 8+

Booking Details: www.thebutterflyclub.com

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