Monday, 15 January 2018

REVIEW: The Rat Pack, Live from Las Vegas at Theatre Royal, Haymarket

Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr – arguably three of the most renowned showmen of all time and for those who have been living under a rock since the 1950’s, as a collective were affectionately known as The Rat Pack. With voices instantly recognisable and smash-hit songs like I’ve Got You Under My Skin, Mr Bojangles, That’s Amore, Volare, That’s Life and My Way – it’s the perfect combination to create a show in tribute to these three legendary men.

As Frank Sinatra, we were treated to the stylings of Garrett Phillips who encapsulated the smooth-crooner to a tee. Effortlessly charming and suave – just like Frank. He was marvellous. Nigel Casey admirably managed to make Dean Martin’s troubled drinking habits quite humorous and light-hearted! He captured everything Martin was with ease and sang excellently. As Sammy Davis Jr, David Hayes was magnetic: bags of charisma and personality which lit the stage. 

Until February 6th, this show also includes a tribute to the iconic Ella Fitzgerald. Played by Nicola Emmanuel, the nod is all too fleeting. She does not feature in Act 1 and only appears briefly towards the end of Act 2: not nearly enough of this sensational vocalist. 

First appearing on stage as Dean Martin’s backing vocalists, this show also features the close-harmony trio ‘The Burelli Sisters’ featuring Amelia Adams-Pearce, Rebecca Parker and Joanna Walters. They are a fantastic and welcome addition to this show adding all the glamour, sex-appeal and vocal depth the show needs.

The stage is set with a big band at the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas. Sadly, it’s all a little cheap looking and feels more Premier Inn, Reading than anything else. The lighting was utilised well, particularly in Act 2 when it seems the whole show stepped up a gear as not only did the lighting improve but the interactions onstage became more captivating, the vocals were stronger and somehow, the shoes were shinier. On a similar note, costumes were simple were very effective – clean cut suits for the gentlemen, stunning dresses for the Burelli Sisters and a beautiful navy blue satin number for Miss Fitzgerald. They definitely all very much looked the part. 

For those who love The Rat Pack (and co), this show should tick all the right boxes for you. At the end of the day, The Rat Pack were adored for their music and stage presence – not the colour of the lights they stood under or the hotels where they performed. While for regular theatre-goers, this may disappoint as it lacks spectacle, for those who love The Rat Pack, you’ll think S’wonderful. 

Rating: ★★★

Review by Harriet Langdown
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