Theatre Royal Haymarket, London – until 3 February 2018
Reality Rating: 3/5
Fidget Factor: 0.4
Through the smooth tones of Frank Sinatra, the audience are swept back to The Sands Hotel, Las Vegas during the height of Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr and Frank Sinatra’s success. Goofing around on stage together, this mischievous trio perform a number of hits that get hundreds of shoulders shuffling in the auditorium.
Garrett Phillips’ silky Sinatra is mastered both in voice and mannerisms. Nigel Casey, however, steals the limelight with his charismatic impression of Dean Martin, using the original fellas gags and snippets as if they were improvised on the spot. We forget to compare Casey to Martin’s vocals, as the focus is constantly fixed on his outrageous behaviour.
The Rat Pack Live From Las Vegas was devised by Mitch Sebastian, he curated and edited original material to compile a show from the 50s which resonates with an audience of the Noughties. As much as the teasing, jesting and atmosphere of the Rat Pack are received well by the audience, there are parts of the show which don’t sit quite as well.
Some of the jokes made by the stars of the rat pack feel uncomfortable in a modern day society, and aren’t particularly kind or respectful towards women. The production may claim this is in the true spirit of the Rat Pack, but it doesn’t feel necessary. The Burelli sisters are fantastic when singing together, but the dancing choreography is cringe-worthy; out of time, lacking pizzazz and unfortunately, they are flaunted over the men like playthings.
The introduction of Ella Fitzgerald to this production is a sublime choice, classy and mesmerising, Nicola Emmanuel puts our faith back into the show. Duetting The Lady Is A Tramp with Sinatra (Philips), the well impersonated voice of Fitzgerald rings through the audience. Unforgettable throughout the production is the Rat Pack’s Big Band, headed up by Matthew Freeman – not a note out of place.
Tribute acts usually have theatre audiences twiddling their thumbs by the interval, however Sebastian’s focus on the singers relationships keeps this production interesting.
Singing into February, catch the Rat Pack before spring arrives.
Click for Tix: @Haymarket
Time: 2 Hour 20 Minutes Inc. Interval
Running: 9 JAN 18 ► 3 FEB 18