Rob Kemp @ Heroes, Monkey Barrel

The Fringe has a new king

Review by Tony Makos | 11 Aug 2017

It’s midnight. We're crammed into a sweaty dark basement while a very tall man looks stressed – his tech might not be working. We can barely see the stage, the projections are too dark, and the performer is missing one of his props. Once Rob Kemp kicks into the first number of the show, however, all this is forgotten.

A cut and paste appropriation of the songs of the King of Rock 'n' Roll combined with the King of Cult Horror Cinema, the ridiculously named Elvis Dead is everything you want, everything you *need* from the late night Fringe. Kemp’s solid baritone wailing the plot of Evil Dead 2 over ropey karaoke Elvis tracks is so bloody stupid – and yet totally obvious – that literally no practical or tech problems can stop a crowd falling in love with it. As Kemp convincingly goes the full Bruce Campbell to physically contort and exhaust himself on stage in the service of comedy horror, juggling cardboard chainsaws, plastic shotguns and blood spray bottles, it’s impossible not to be on board with every groan-worthy lyric, every shonky piece of 'acting', and even every accidental break in character. The tunes are classic. The film is a classic. And this execution is so filled with love and joy that only a deadite would fail to be entertained. Hail to the King.

Rob Kemp: The Elvis Dead, Heroes at Monkey Barrel (Basement), until Aug (not 15-16 Aug or 22-23 Aug), midnight, £5/PWYW