Everyone can find something to be happily All Shook Upabout in PLATO’s upbeat rock-and-rolling comedy at The Golden Apple Dinner Theater. For fans of Elvis’ music, for lovers of Shakespeare who’ll search for story and added references to his plays and sonnets, for anyone who likes satirical bites at social excesses and prejudices, exuberant performances match author Joe DiPietro’s typical excess of plot. Motorcyclist Chad (sexy, exciting Logan O’Neill) roars into a stuffy ‘50s Midwest town in black leather jacket and with guitar at hand. He can make a seemingly defunct jukebox in a local cafe function but needs work done on his bike. Thus enters mechanic Natalie (crystalline voiced Nikki White), who promptly falls in love with Chad instead of suitor Dennis (stalwart Jason Kimble), whom Chad taps as his sidekick.
In the swayings of love -- so well described in the varied lyrics Elvis made famous, Chad falls for librarian Miss Sandra (Alana Opie, in place being out of place). So does Natalie’s widowed dad Jim (Jared Welcon, compelling), though Sylvia (outstanding soul-singer Ariel Blue) would be a better match. She’s as forbidding of her daughter (sweet Jaszy McAllister) Lorraine’s love for Dean (sympathy-winning Craig Weiskerger) as is his mother, Matilda.
Helen Holliday is a hoot as Matilda, the Mayor, who forbids evil practices such as “that dancing” and “that music” and frowns on interracial mixing. Though she has obedient Sheriff (funny Ben Turoff) as her enforcer, Dean manages to get to Lorraine while AWOL from the military academy Matilda’s assigned him to so he’ll be like his dead, hero father.
Somewhere in the thickets of “Can’t Help Falling in Love” plot, Natalie in disguise as Ed, bumps Dennis to become Chad’s more-than-favorite Sidekick. Ed has also won Miss Sandra’s love. Not to worry, revelations of relationships and identities result in an unshakeable ending “That’s All Right.”
Director Kyle Ennis Turoff keeps the “Burning Love” intrigues glowing at every flicker with remarkably few pauses between different scenes. Michael Newton-Brown’s cartoonish scenery engages the audience and allows both intimate exchanges and big ensemble dancing as well as Alex Newberry’s lighting design to even extend into and above the audience. Jill Godfrey’s choreography makes all movement energetic yet not overwrought.
Satire isn’t absent from David Walker’s costumes’ effects. I expected to be able to name a favorite or two among the stagings of Elvis’ songs, but I actually liked them all. Yes, “Devil in Disguise” as well as “Love Me Tender”...and all those typical hits about dogs, shoes, hotels, dreams. A lot of fun.