Previewed 26 March 2004, opened 19 April 2004, closed 23 April 2005 at the Piccadilly Theatre in London
The major new stage musical Jailhouse Rock in London featuring Mario Kombou as Elvis Presley.
Featuring a rich catalogue of 1950's rock'n'roll classics, Jailhouse Rock The Musical tells the story of Vince Everett, a young man from the wrong side of the tracks who discovers his own unique musical talent whilst doing time in jail and emerges to become the world's greatest rock'n'roll star, only to discover that he isn't ready for the pressures that money and fame can bring. Jailhouse Rock The Musical is a new stage musical version of the classic 1957 Elvis film Jailhouse Rock. The show also charts the development of rock'n'roll from its roots in blues and country music and will feature a mix of musical styles alongside a host of popular rock'n'roll hits which will appeal to all theatregoers, with plenty of classic hits to satisfy Elvis fans!
The cast for Jailhouse Rock features Mario Kombou as 'Vince Everett' (the Elvis role). It is written by Alan Janes and Rob Bettinson who also directs with choreography by Drew Anthony and designs by Adrian Rees. Based on the motion picture Jailhouse Rock originally produced by Pandro S. Berman. Includes classic hits Blue Suede Shoes, Suspicious Minds, Are You Lonesome Tonight? A Fool Such as I and many more. Rob Bettinson's West End credits include Leonardo the Musical at the Strand Theatre in 1993.
"When is an Elvis tribute show not an Elvis tribute show? When the name Elvis is never mentioned, though his presence ghosts through the entire evening. And when the title song Jailhouse Rock, is never sung, because the producers could not get permission for its inclusion from the late singer's estate...In such circumstances you might expect it to be a disaster. But adversity has worked in its favour. Instead of getting the usual 30 greatest Elvis hits, more effort has been put by writing and directing team Rob Bettison and Alan Janes into finding less well-worn Presley numbers... It's lively and enjoyable, and the detailed arrangements and performances of A Fool Such As I, Suspicious Minds and Always On My Mind are really rather excellent." The Daily Mail
"Suitably for a story set largely in a tough jail, director Rob Bettinson's show is a riot - a loud and lively, fast and energetic, pulsing, throbbing rock'n'roll spectacular with enough energy to power the London Underground. Sure, the acting is patchy and some of the script really hackneyed. But as the story gains momentum the impeccable performance of 23 songs glosses over the defects... In a young best-of-British cast, Mario Kombou is short on charisma but long on looks and voice in the Elvis role - he's a terrific Presley impersonator. A cluster of encores on opening night had the audience singing along and bopping in the aisles. I predict it will become a regular occurrence at what's the most exciting rock'n'roll party in town." The Sun
"Unfortunately, everybody in the whole cell block are not dancing to the jailhouse rock. Denied the film's Leiber and Stoller songs (the writers have their own show in mind), the director Rob Bettinson and his co-writer Alan Janes cram in more than 20 numbers. The team behind the jukebox-as-theatre success Buddy give us other Elvis hits such as Burnin' Love and Are You Lonesome Tonight? but also too many less-than-rebellious titles such as This Ole House... On stage as Vince, Mario Kombou is more puppy dog than hound dog, strutting through a tune but never interpreting a song. A dynamic Gilz Terera as his victimised friend emerges as the production's real star while the cast are happier playing their wailing harmonicas, plangent slide guitars, boogie-woogie piano and Stomp-like percussion than sporting American accents." The Times
"Jailhouse Rock does not do what it says on the tin. The 1957 film featured Elvis as Vince Everett, a hothead who kills a man and ends up in prison, where he's taught how to play the guitar by a country singer jailbird. On his release, Vince finds fame and fortune the hard way. But hang on. Most of the Leiber and Stoller songs aren't even in this stage version, including the title number. Instead, what you get is an all-purpose Elvis jukebox anthology with such hits as Blue Suede Shoes that weren't in the film. That wouldn't matter if the show really did shake, rattle and roll but, instead, it creaks. Mario Kombou is a sulky Elvis clone with a good voice but zilch charisma." The Daily Express
"Jailhouse Rock is meant to be a liberating prison musical, but it's more like two-and-three-quarter hours of community service. For hardcore Elvis fans, however, it's one night with him and it's all they're living for. Rob Bettinson has reworked the famous Elvis movie without, alas, getting the rights for the title number. Nevertheless, he tells the story of Vince, the boy from the slums who has attitude, kills his rival in love and gets ten years in the state penitentiary, where he learns how to play the guitar from his jail-mate. He's soon accomplished enough to sing his fellow jailbirds to sleep with his rendition of Are You Lonesome Tonight?... Bettinson works hard to show the social and musical background - the racism, the negro spirituals, the Country and Western - from which rock 'n' roll emerged. But nothing can disguise the fact that this is a meagre karaoke night, a slow build-up to a stand-up singalong. Until then, Mario Kombou does his smouldering best, but the King he ain't... Which leaves Vince's chum, Quickly (Gilz Terera with a fabulous voice), to steal a pretty poor show." The Mail on Sunday
Jailhouse Rock in London at the Piccadilly Theatre previewed from 26 March 2004, opened on 19 April 2004 and closed on 23 April 2005