Exhibiting his usual extraordinary charisma this consummate storyteller seduces his audience and leads them through the story of a young Yugoslav who realises that he is destined to carry on where Elvis left off. We travel across streams, through gypsy camps, nightclubs and war as the Balkan Elvis clings to his dreams and ambition despite life and unappreciative audiences getting in his way.
Sometimes hilarious, sometimes tender, sometimes both, Mikelangelo’s velvety baritone vocals deliver fabulous Balkan renditions of such classics as ‘Viva Dubrovnik’ and ‘Red Suede Shoes’. His version of ‘If I Can Dream’, accompanied only by piano accordion is tender and beautiful.
Supported by the ‘Zagreb All Stars’ on piano accordion, double bass, trumpet, sax and drums he takes us on a rollicking ride through the Eastern Bloc of the 1970s and 1980s. The inclusion of a troupe of ‘Ukrainian’ belly dancers for some of the numbers adds to the surreal folktale feel of this cabaret show.
Not being an Elvis devotee myself I was a bit slow on the uptake of some of the in-jokes enjoyed by those around me who were more familiar with the songs and lyrics but one definitely doesn’t need to be an Elvis fan to enjoy oneself here.
We were encouraged to get to our feet and dance for the last song and when we were slow to respond Mikelangelo came down and took us by the hand and helped us up. (Maybe we were just waiting for him to do so).
The lobby afterwards was full of smiling faces and the spontaneous group singing of ‘It’s Now or Never’ in the queue for the ladies toilets after the show was a delight.
Last chance to see the Balkan Elvis at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival is on Thursday 14th June at 6:30pm. If you are unlucky enough to miss this one you can see Mikelangelo appearing as the husband of Yma Sumac in Ali McGregor’s show about the Peruvian songbird.

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