Live At Zedel, London – until 20 January 2019
Transferring to the capital from a sold-out run at the Edinburgh Fringe, Richard Shelton’s tribute to Frank Sinatra makes for a fabulous evening. Accompanied by the excellent Michael Roulston on piano, Shelton adopts Sinatra’s persona for the gig – transporting the action to The Purple Room in Palm Springs and, in amidst a selection of the crooner’s greatest hits, delivers a well-rehearsed and meticulously researched whirl through Sinatra’s life.
Shelton’s script touches on Sinatra’s youth, The Rat Pack, his (alleged) links to The Mob and JFK, as well as his politics and fierce support of America’s civil rights movement. There are moments perhaps when the narrative seems a little lengthy and self-indulgent, but these are more than made up for by Shelton’s sensational voice.
The songs are classics, with the script offering occasional footnotes alluding to the numbers’ histories. But for 75 minutes of mellifluous wonder, Sinatra: Raw cannot be beaten. Sit back as you sip on a vodka martini or scotch on the rocks and as Shelton sings, close your eyes, and Ol’ Blue Eyes could be right there with you!