The sly wordplay title of Idols of the King is one of the cleverest things about this raucous trifle of a comedy. The monarch referenced is not King Arthur of Tennyson's Idylls. This king ruled Graceland, not Camelot.
Theatre Three's new production of Idols is musically and visually appealing. This is due less to the script by Ronnie Claire Edwards (The Waltons) and Allen Crowe than to the hard work of musical and stage director Terry Dobson, his design team and a three-member cast.
Jack Foltyn, who is "Graceland approved," it says in the playbill, shakes, rattles and rolls through a dozen-and-a-half Elvis Presley numbers and wears almost that many different outfits. He works mainly on a narrow perch above the arena floor and below the orchestra nook. Occasionally he descends to the main stage, as during a touching sequence shared with Morgana Shaw as a lonely spinster piano teacher who fantasizes dancing with the King. The song: "Are You Lonesome Tonight?"
Michael Corolla and Shaw portray various fans of Elvis, among them a quarreling elderly couple who travel the country exhibiting a toilet that the rock star once used (the King's Throne, doncha know), and another twosome traveling by motorcycle (a Honda Shadow masquerading as a Harley) to see Elvis in Las Vegas.
Shaw sparkles as a stripper who once dated Elvis. She holds forth eloquently on the sisterhood of those who swap pasties. Corolla is memorable as a sweetly goofy fan who recalls using Welch's grape juice to dye his white bucks after first hearing Elvis sing "Blue Suede Shoes" and as an effeminate wedding planner orchestrating nuptials for a bride who is a fanatical Elvis fan.
It all adds up to a great big hunk of burning energy, overdone to a calculated turn.