During this one-man, 80 minute performance, Slabolepzy expels enough energy to light up a shopping mall.
He plays Eddie du Pisanie, a retrenched East Rand salesman on the verge of gassing himself in his car. After hearing an old Elvis song on the car radio, he decides to go back to his hometown, Witbank, to discover where his life went wrong.
Set design is minimal, as the entire show takes place underneath a solitary lamppost opposite the ex-Carlton bioscope, the scene of an “Elvis sighting” many years ago. Although Slabolepzy’s performance at times is manic and over the top with his use of sound effects and actions, he has an amazing ability to bring a range of diverse characters to life with just a change of accent or mannerism. Dressed in a standard business suit, Du Pisanie takes the audience on a hilarious journey through his childhood while he waits for Elvis, his childhood idol, to appear.
Slabolepzy treats the audience to replays of old Dick Tracy movies, a graphical discussion on how bubblegum isn’t made the way it used to be, his audition during an Elvis impersonator contest and eccentric boat builders. The audience even gets to see Lydia Swanepoel and her amazing “bob-flick” - the first girl Du Pisanie ever fell in love with.
Elvis does not appear and as Du Pisanie recounts the most traumatic event of his childhood, he finally understands that Elvis had already saved his life on that fateful night many years ago. And as that dawns on him, he realises his life is not as meaningless as he once thought.
Production: The Return of Elvis du Pisanie
Director: Lara Foot Newton
Cast: Paul Slabolepzy
Venue: Theatre on the Bay
Performances: 12 - 30 Oct 2004