"If you're an Elvis fan, no explanation is necessary; If you're not an Elvis fan, no explanation is possible."

(George Klein)



"History has him as this good old country boy, Elvis is about as country as Bono!"

(Jerry Schilling)






The Memphis Lullaby A Play Script

Linda Ann McConnell

2004, Pressley Publications, Glasgow, Scotland, ISBN: 0-9548254-0-3

The Memphis Lullaby is a rarity in the Elvis world - a play in 5 acts about the King of Rock 'n' Roll. What makes The Memphis Lullaby even more unusual is that the play is performed in the first person, with Elvis looking back at his incredible life story six days before his untimely death on 16 August 1977.

Acts 1 and 2 are Elvis telling his life story. Act 3 is presented as a voiceover while the final two acts (particularly impressive) are presented as "films" with visual and audio cues.

Linda Ann McConnell is to be congratulated on writing a touching script which vividly brings to life the Elvis story, and importantly does so from Elvis' perspective, not that of a third party.

As promotion for the play says: "The Memphis Lullaby play paints an intimate portrait of the King in his own words - transcribed from recordings of radio interviews, press conferences, concerts, his handwritten notes and remembered conversations with his friend Larry Geller."

And this is what struck me throughout the narrative, just how well the author manages to capture the essence of who Elvis was, including his vocal mannerisms:

"Maybe because I was an only child, my mama never let me go out of her sight."

On Hollywood:

"When I finished a movie I went straight back to Memphis, at least it's real."

On Lisa Marie:

"I didn't believe that I had made part of this beautiful child (smiles affectionately) Oh man, she's too much."

The narration reminded me of the narration in the film This Is Elvis.

It is obvious just how much thought and planning Linda Ann McConnell put in to her work. The robust narrative, the important final acts that occur shortly after Elvis' death and the evocative imagery - these all function synergistically to fully engage the reader/viewer.

Elvis' drug taking is, I suspect, deliberately underexposed in The Memphis Lullaby. In so doing it appropriately allows other parts of the legend to come into focus: Elvis' spirituality, his likes and dislikes, the halcyon 50's, the movie years, Las Vegas, and in August 1977, the infamous "Bodyguard book".

While The Memphis Lullaby is not the first time Elvis' life story has been told in the first person, play format - for instance there was Alan Bleasdale's much darker, Are You Lonesome Tonight? - Linda Ann McConnell offers a different point of entry into and perspective on the psyche of Elvis Araon Presley. It is one which will please many fans.

The script title also forms the title of a heartfelt poem printed in the book which is also complemented by several pleasant black & white photos of Elvis and a comprehensive bibliography.

Verdict: The Memphis Lullaby is a fresh and powerful release that offers an intimate look at the Elvis story from 'a different point of view'.

Footnote: The Memphis Lullaby was first performed as a rehearsal reading at the Arches Theatre in Glasgow on 8 January 2004. The role was portrayed by Thomas McGarvey.

Click: to buy The Memphis Lullaby/visit the book's website

Click to comment on this review

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