Elvis on stage performing
July 13, 2022

A Little Less Conversation A Little More Luhrmann Baby

Baz Luhrmann attends the Canadian screening of Warner Bros.

In one of those perfectly fortuitous coincidences that must be treasured whenever they come your way, my flatmate and I bumped into each other on our commute home on Friday night. We were both two wines deep and positively plan-less with a shared urge to go to the cinema. There were two prime seats left at our local cinema for Elvis at 9 pm so we booked them there and then on the overground and made our way over.

She was sceptical at first given that she was not an Elvis fan. I tried to convince her by noting that it was directed by Baz Luhrmann to which she asked: “who is that?” (she is in no way affiliated with Backyard Cinema). As I ran through his impressive resume, her face lit up at the mention of Moulin Rouge and in one breath she squealed that she knew all the words to every song. I was comforted. A feeling which was swiftly displaced by despondency when she started singing Nowadays from Chicago.

close up of Elvis on stage performing

After subjecting her to a brief history on early noughties musicals, we took to our seats and enjoyed the show. What. A. Show. Luhrmann’s sensibility for the extreme has perhaps never been so perfectly channelled. Elvis Presley’s electrifying stage presence had only ever been known to me through description. You can use as many adjectives as you like to attempt to convey that pulsating energy that had all who witnessed firmly at his mercy, but nothing has conveyed it so viscerally as Luhrmann’s signature sensory overload directing style.

Romeo-and-Juliet-movie-scene-1

Just like Elvis’s wiggle, Luhrmann’s film has to be seen to be believed. His ability to provoke extreme emotions through his striking, theatrical style made his version of Romeo+Juliet the definitive one. He resurrected the horror in a 500 year old story that everyone already knew the end to and made it feel urgent and fresh. Elvis Presely’s tragic trajectory deserved the same treatment.

There are just a few tickets left to Backyard Cinema’s Romeo+Juliet at Union Chapel this August. There can be no better way to whet your Baz appetite than to catch Elvis with us this July.

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