Audiences are set to experience the wonder of Paul Thorpe this weekend as he dons the famous white jumpsuit and takes to the stage at Rothes Halls for his tribute to the King of rock and roll.
Paul will be appearing with his nine piece band, performing all the greatest hits of Elvis Presley with live backing vocalists at the Glenrothes venue on Saturday.
You may remember the London-born performer from his appearance on ITV’s original ‘Stars in Their Eyes’ as Elvis Presley back in January 1993.
Since turning professional that same year, he has gone on to perform over 11,000 shows for theatre, TV, corporate and private functions as well as touring the globe for the last 25 years.
Previously based in Gran Canaria, Spain, Paul has more recently toured the USA, Norway, India, France, Germany, Austria, Holland, Spain, China and Malaysia.
His Middle East tour included shows in Dubai, Qatar, Bahrain, Doha, Muscat, Egypt and Lebanon.
Paul, who now lives in Falkirk, revealed what audiences can expect from his Fife show: “I have a couple of formats I use but I have found that if you do too many costume changes you lose the audience,” he said.
“So I tend to do two changes – the first half is more the GI years and the 68 Comeback while the second half is the Vegas years. Theatre crowds are always fantastic but trying to choose songs that will please everybody is very hard.
“I used to do it from the 1950s and then work my way through. There is lot within the 50s and 60s and the 70s I try and change them around. The 68 comeback period has some great songs like Trouble and If I Can Dream which people want to experience from an Elvis show.
“Having a band perform with you is incredible - you can do what you want and make songs last longer.”
What Elvis songs do audiences enjoy listening to?
Paul said: “American Trilogy has a big build up and it shows Elvis as he was. I love working with an orchestra as well for this number - that’s when you really feel it.
“I would say American Trilogy is probably the main song people want to hear. Other popular songs with audiences every single time are: Return to Sender, Wooden Heart, In the Ghetto, Suspicious Minds, Burning Love, Don’t be Cruel and The Wonder of You. I could do a four hour show and still not have covered all of Elvis’ songs - he recorded around 1400!”
While he enjoys performing the popular numbers, Paul said he prefers singing the less well known songs: “I love singing the really obscure songs – stuff from the 1950s. I like songs like Wild In The Country, In My Way and How’s the World Treating You. I have a studio in my house so when I am singing them there, I can really feel the emotion. “But every single show is different - the atmosphere is different with each performance.”
But how did it all begin?
Paul explained: “I left my job to go and sing. I was doing part time jobs to pay the rent. I did Stars In Their Eyes in 1993 and three months later I was in Gran Canaria.
“I had a contract to perform for six months and I ended up staying for 15 years. Since then I have flown all over the world – I have worked in the Middle East in Dubai – have been there 20 times, also Egypt and Lebanon, China, which was fantastic and Hong Kong. I am hoping to get to Mexico and Brazil next year. In Brazil they love Elvis’ music!”
Paul said as much as he enjoyed living and working in Gran Canaria, he now loves staying in Scotland: “I moved from Gran Canaria to Scotland 11 years ago. I have worked so much in Scotland. The Scottish audiences are fantastic - they go out with the intention of having a good time. They are not frightened of letting their hair down. I now live in Falkirk and have done for seven years.
“70 per cent of my work is now in Scotland.”
Paul has previously performed in Fife, but hasn’t been to Rothes Halls before. He is looking forward to the show on Saturday: “I have never been to Rothes Halls. I have been to a few other theatres in Fife but have never been there so I am looking forward to it. I am actually hoping to pop up beforehand just so I can see the venue. Hopefully, the audience will have a good night.”
He added: “I have been so lucky in what I have done. I have great friends in the business and I never take it for granted.”