This September, sixteen years after playwright Lee Hall premiered his hit dark comedy “Cooking With Elvis” at the Edinburgh Festival – it will be entertaining audiences during a four-night run at The Phoenix Theatre, Blyth [2nd to 5th September].
The play will be making an extra special return to the South East Northumberland theatre during its 50th anniversary year. First-time around ‘Cooking With Elvis’ was regarded as ‘one of the most popular shows ever staged in the history of the venue’.
2015 has already been quite a time for The Phoenix Theatre, Blyth as it has also been awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.
Award-winning writer Lee Hall is renowned for penning other such classics as “Billy Elliot” and “The Pitman Painters”. He was asked how important are community theatres like The Phoenix Theatre, Blyth – who devote a big part their programming to bringing plays like “Cooking with Elvis” to new audiences.
Lee Hall said: “Community theatres are the life blood of our theatrical tradition. I think it’s incredible that we have theatres like the Phoenix. Theatre should be for everybody. Some of the best evenings I’ve spent in the theatre have been in Community Theatres.
“There is a very long tradition of amateur theatre which feeds into our incredible theatrical culture. It really is something we should be very proud of. It’s a tradition that’s virtually unique to the British Isles.”
In a nutshell “Cooking With Elvis” is a deliciously wicked and hilarious comedy, based in the North East – about an amateur Elvis impersonator, who is paralysed in a car crash that forces his wife and daughter to cope with the challenging aftermath.
Hall tells of what he believes is behind the continued longevity of “Cooking With Elvis”; and what he thinks is the appeal that still draws in audiences, up and down the land.
Hall said: “It’s amazing to me that Cooking With Elvis still works. I think there are lots of reasons. The music, the rudeness and, of course, that it’s funny.
“I grew up in a tradition of Popular Theatre where the aim was to make ‘A Good Night Out’. A good night in my opinion is where you challenge, move, provoke and even shock your audience – but you also entertain them.
“Theatre should be for everybody but so much theatre only really appeals to a middle class audience. I want to make theatre where anybody can come and find something for them. I think Cooking With Elvis has loads to entertain people.”
David Garrett – Executive Director of The Phoenix Theatre, Blyth said: “2015 just keeps on getting better and better for us!
“Our 50th anniversary celebrations have been honoured by royalty in the form of the Queen’s Award and our loyal audiences are being treated to the highest quality of performances like Cooking With Elvis.
“I’m very gratified by Lee Hall comments about the importance of community theatres in today’s current arts scene. We feel that we are part of something extra special in Blyth, as the theatre company continues to provide a platform for aspiring young actors to cut their teeth and to give audiences the chance to experience top draw plays that have graced some of the country’s best loved venues.
“Long may we be associated with award-winning shows like Cooking With Elvis that showcases the talents of writers in the mould of Lee Hall, who proudly was born and bred on the heritage of the region which is reflected in the humour and rich tone of his work.”
Audiences are urged not to miss their chance to catch the King and some of his greatest hits in this superb award-winning comedy. It has everything that is great about live theatre conveniently rolled into one show.
People interested in booking tickets for Cooking With Elvis at The Phoenix Theatre, Blyth from 2nd to 5th September can contact the box office by calling 01670 367 228, by visiting in person from Monday to Friday 10am until 12:30pm and on Saturday from 10am until 2pm. People can also book online at www.thephoenixtheatre.org.uk
Tickets are priced £12.50 / £11.50 (concs) and the show begins at 7.30pm.
Those people also interested in seeing what else The Phoenix Theatre, Blyth has to offer in its new season can view the line-up by visiting www.thephoenixtheatre.org.uk
WARNING: This play contains adult humour, scenes of a sexual nature, strong language and gratuitous Elvis numbers!