I saw the title and overlooked the obvious connection. But I was more or less right in my initial assessment. An everyday life is turned into a glam tale with a single thought, a single drift into a trance. Annie becomes Elvis in a blink of an eye, or in this case a twist of a blue suede shoe.
The comedic duo of Teddy Roosevelt and Elvis Presley make a rip-roaring team. Ironically, they are brought together by their love of manly pursuits, adoring the metal clang of guns and the reddest of meats. The Team use various theatrical methods to almost mock the stereotypical pursuits of Americans, they also mock the bravado of the red-blooded American male. For example, Teddy being a slight and nerdy man often plays the bold muscular hero, although he never quite plays the role compellingly enough. He spends most of the play convincing the audience of his supreme patriarchal prowess.
Mental health, I believe is challenged in this show. It was at times hard to conceive whether Ann’s fascination with Elvis is a bit of fun, jolly cosplay. But then again, if Teddy is still a figment of her imagination….
As a 30 something old lesbian is the protagonist, a heavy focus of this play is gender and identity, Anne hides under the guise of Elvis to gain confidence she craves. It was Elvis’ idea to start online dating. But Elvis and Teddy have their own issues when it comes to women, Roosevelt lost both his mother and wife on the same day and struggles with the memories of the two women. While Elvis was often deemed to be too close to his mother who he dubbed “his baby girl”.
The only other solid contact Ann receives during the 45 minute play is Brenda, who plays a very loose lover and confidant. Her role is quite pivotal, she makes Anne think about her lack of pride and confidence in herself. “Why did you pull away when I tried to kiss you?” Brenda hits a nerve and then guffaws when Anne shows an obvious distaste in her own sexuality.
There is certain scene where Annie leaves her fears, disgruntlement and obsession behind.She’s come to the end of her imaginative adventure. Which is in some ways sad, as the mischief between Teddy and Elvis is over. Or is it?
Mini review: A surreal comedy. Very slapstick at times, but thoughtful throughout.
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