Essentially a classy tribute show, This Is Elvis nevertheless provides a rip-snorting couple of hours entertainment.

On paper it couldn't fail. Take a top class Elvis lookie-likey, give him a crack band and 30 of the most iconic songs from the 20th century and then stand back and watch the fireworks.

The fact that the Elvis in question just happens to be the 1968/69 version, all leather and smouldering sex, adds to the potency.

We kick off in the NBC studios, LA, in 1968 for a brief remake of the King's legendary worldwide TV special, his first live appearance for years. Sidetracked by the US army and a succession of hopeless movies, this one event, watched by a worldwide audience of millions, catapulted Elvis straight back to the top.

We then get a couple of backstage scenes where Elvis tells Colonel Tom Parker that he's finished with films and wants to get back on the road; a few telling conversations with his increasingly estranged Priscilla; a glimpse at rehearsals with his new band and, finally, Elvis alone in his hotel room gripped by insecurity an hour before taking the stage for a first night of a lengthy run at the International in Las Vegas.

After the interval we get a 20 song recreation of Elvis's Vegas show, with full band, lights and banter.

Simon Bowman is absolutely stunning in the title role. He's played the King before, in Alan Bleasdale's Are You Lonesome Tonight? and it shows. Vocally, he's a dead-ringer and if he's a little self-conscious doing some of Elvis's more flamboyant stage moves, he makes up for it with sheer charisma.

The band are individually and collectively superb too, particularly Nick Radcliffe who has Scotty Moore and James Burton's licks off pat.

By far the best section was the rehearsal segment which sees the band coming together and gelling.

It's a shame that the dramatic interludes are all in the hour before the interval. The show is somehow unbalanced and a dramatic postscript would be welcome.

You'll have to suspend a lot of disbelief to imagine you're in Vegas rather than the Alex and that the person sat next to you is Frank Sinatra rather than Frank Butcher, but if you're an Elvis fan you won't want to miss this.

Until Saturday. Running time: two hours. 0870 607 7531

Andrew Cowen ..SUPL: